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Grand Ridge Park

Grand Ridge Park includes 7 miles of WTA-built trail through western red cedar trees, sword ferns, nettles, berries and, at times, slugs. This trail is a little piece of the backcountry close to Seattle and is open to hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians.

Winding through 1,300 acres above Issaquah and Lake Sammamish, Grand Ridge Park is the result of a unique agreement between Port Blakely, which developed the Issaquah Highlands and King County. For every one acre of developed land, Port Blakely agreed to set aside four acres of park land.

The trail provides habitat to many forest creatures besides just slugs, such as bears, owls, cougars, and chipmunks. You can access the trail at High Point or Central Park in the Issaquah Highlands, and eventually Duthie Park as well.

Washington Trails Association has been involved with developing the trail system at Grand Ridge since 2000, first stringing together old logging roads and user-built trails and then building new trail north. The trail will eventually reach the Issaquah-Fall City Road and Duthie Hill on boardwalk through the marsh there.

One of the highlights of the trail is a beautiful 40-foot long, hand-built bridge spanning Canyon Creek. Built by WTA volunteers over three years and milled from downed Cedar trees on the site, it's six-foot width accommodates hikers, bikers and horses, and also improves water quality. Both steelhead and cutthroat trout spawn downstream in Canyon Creek, which flows into the Snoqualmie River.

In 2012, WTA volunteers also drove the final spike into a 600-foot boardwalk, also milled on site, that takes users out of the muck and on to firm ground. This boardwalk, near Duthie Hill, is the final section of trail to be finished at the park.
Driving Directions:

From Seattle, drive east on I-90 for approx. 18.1 miles. Take Exit 20, turn left at bottom of ramp. Pass underneath I-90 and park in the gravel lot to the west. Hike or bike west on the Issaquah-to-High Point Trail to the backcountry trailhead. You can also access the trail from Central Park and South Pond in the Issaquah Highlands neighborhoods. Access from the north is planned.

Driving Directions - Central Park Trailhead:
From I-90 take exit 18 to Highlands Drive NE. Turn onto Highlands Drive NE. Take the third right onto NE Federal Drive. Stay right as it merges into NE Park Drive. Travel 3/4 mile then turn right at the sign that says "Central Park". Travel 0.3 mile, passing the playground and taking the next left turn. There is plenty of parking near ball field #3 and the tennis courts. The trail is about 40 yards beyond (east of) the tennis courts. Please be mindful of the neighbors.

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Recent Trip Reports

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There are 47 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Grand Ridge Park — Apr 01, 2014 — GoOutside
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Mudholes | Water on trail
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First hike of the year and it was quite nice. First time on this trail and it was great one to star...
First hike of the year and it was quite nice. First time on this trail and it was great one to start the hiking season off. For first-timers, this is on the opposite side of I-90 from Tiger Mtn. In fact, you take the same exit (exit 20) but turn left under the highway as opposed to right; go under the highway and RIGHT THERE is the gravel parking lot on the left. There are other trailheads that you can start this hike from as well further up the hill (but I couldn't tell you how to get there).

The trail is well maintained, only a few small muddy sections that you could easily avoid. Ferns are everywhere! Signs are plentiful at each trail intersection which was nice to have considering we hadn't been there before. There were a few mountain bikers on the path and all were very considerate, telling us they were alone and not to expect anyone else, stopping to chat, really nice. There are uphill sections, some downhill sections, some flat sections; nothing extreme.

There is one small section blocked off with a trail re-route due to a widow maker in a tree just waiting to come down onto someone's head. The re-route isn't a big deal, but take time to look up at the tree pointing down onto the trail. And don't walk under it.

We went 4.5 miles in, had lunch by a babbling brook next to the "lucky" bridge (horseshoe is on the handrail) and then went back to the car. You can do this hike with 2 cars so it's one way, or do what we did--go in and then go back. On our way back to the car, ran into a young man who was panning for gold. Truly. Not April Fools. Don't see that every day! All in all, nice day for a hike in the woods.
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Grand Ridge Park — Mar 23, 2014 — Alpine Art
Day hike
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Our goal was to hike some trails of Grand Ridge Park, we got close but missed the park trails entire...
Our goal was to hike some trails of Grand Ridge Park, we got close but missed the park trails entirely.

We started in the Bush St. parking area near the swimming pool and community center but made a mistake taking the tunnel under Highlands Drive and following a bike path to the a shopping area and then to an unnamed storm overflow pond which we mistakenly took to be Central Park.

We then went to an area where a "forest trail" started and quickly ended in a Homeless Camp near a muddy road/trail. Well back to the shopping area and then down to our vehicles.

While we did not get a forest walk we did enjoy the sun and some nice rocks and benches around the unnamed catchment basin.
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Grand Ridge Park — Mar 09, 2014 — Chris
Day hike
Issues: Blowdowns | Mudholes | Water on trail
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I parked at the Central Park trailhead and hiked the Grand Ridge Trail to the trailhead along Issaqu...
I parked at the Central Park trailhead and hiked the Grand Ridge Trail to the trailhead along Issaquah-Fall City Road. The trail is in pretty good shape right now, considering the deluge of rain we have experienced the past couple of weeks. There are only a few areas of mud and standing water that require some creativity to cross on foot. This is about an 8.6 mile round trip hike.

The only other trail issue is that there is one short section of the Grand Ridge Trail that is closed due to a widow maker hanging over the trail. It looked like it was ready to come down anytime and has probably fallen by the time you read this.

I saw many other people out on the trail today, mainly on mountain bikes. Only two other groups were on foot. Overall, it was a great day to get out and stretch the legs.
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Grand Ridge Park — Feb 10, 2014 — Surviving Urban
Day hike
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Perfect trail for putting in some miles on a rainy day. Being a rainy Monday I only saw 3 others on ...
Perfect trail for putting in some miles on a rainy day. Being a rainy Monday I only saw 3 others on the trail; one mountain biker, one trail runner and a hiker with a dog. The trail was in good shape with the expected muddy spots, although I wouldn't really call them mud holes. I went all the way to the end near Duthie Hill and turned around.

There are a few spur trails to the main trail so you can add to your hike if you like. Following the main trail is easy if you pay a attention to the signs that are posted. Each sign has a map that will help you navigate the trail.

Personally, I will probably keep this trail for rainy days or weekdays as it is open to bikes and horses. (generally there are less people on trails when it is raining)

For more from my wet hike:
http://survivingurban.com/grand-ridge-park-trail/

-Ken
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Grand Ridge Park — Jan 15, 2014 — George & Sally
Day hike
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To begin this hike, we parked on NE Harrison Drive on the far eastside of the Issaquah Highlands. We...
To begin this hike, we parked on NE Harrison Drive on the far eastside of the Issaquah Highlands. We walked up Grande Ridge Drive about a 1/4 mile to the trailhead. There is no parking at the trailhead. As we got to the trail, a group of hikers was just heading east to Duthie Hill Park. Parts of the trail has been redone since we last hiked it two years ago. Several of the muddy areas now have turnpikes. King County Parks has installed trail maps at junctions along the way. Some of the trail is on an old road bed. Once past a horseshoe curve the trail heads down hill and crosses two bridges along the way. The first one has broken railings and a foot board loose do to a dead Alder tree that fell onto the bridge. After crossing the second bridge at Canyon Creek the trail goes up hill and turns westerly through a flat area. There is a large granite boulder next to the trail left from when the glaciers retreated during the last ice age about 12,000 years ago. Further on the trail heads down hill to the boardwalk across a swamp, then back up hill a short distance to a crossing of the SE Issaquah-Fall City Road and Duthie Hill Park. The trail is in good shape most of the way. We threw off lots of fallen branches as we hiked.

Besides the hiking group we saw at the start, only saw a few mountain bikers on this hike. No views accept at where we parked. Saw one woodpecker flying through the trees. Makes for a nice forest hike with no crowds.
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WTA Bridge sign 1.jpg
The WTA Bridge is the handiwork of thousands of volunteer hours. Photo by Susan Elderkin.
WTA worked here!
2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
Location
Grand Ridge (#TIGER)
Issaquah Alps
King County Parks
Statistics
Roundtrip 14.0 miles
Elevation Gain 1100 ft
Features
Wildlife
User info
Good for kids
Dogs allowed on leash
May encounter pack animals
May encounter mountains bikes
No pass or permit required
Guidebooks & Maps
Grand Ridge Trail Map, King County Parks
http://tinyurl.com/7rxm7wb

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Red MarkerGrand Ridge Park
47.5263483 -121.9364172
  • Youth Trail Work 2013
  • Trail Work 2012
  • Trail Work 2011
  • Trail Work 2010
(47.5263, -121.9364) Open in new window
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