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Squak Mountain

This forested park, a wilderness with glimpses of Issaquah below, has miles of winding trails alongside bubbling creeks and narrow ravines. There are several trail loop options on this 2,024-foot-high mountain. With multi-use trails and a natural area, hikers have plenty to explore in this quiet sanctuary outside of Issaquah.

Created in 1972 when the Bulitt family donated 590 acres of land at the top of a mountain near Issaquah to the state. The donation included a stipulation that the land must remain in its natural state. Several other parcels of land were acquired over the years, combining to make Squak Mountain the extensive network of trails it is today.

Traces of early land users are readily found throughout the park, from remnants of old coal mining rail trails to overgrown logging roads. Massive old-growth stumps dot the forest alongside the trails. The Bullitt fireplace, a popular park destination, is all that remains at the site of the Bullitt's summer home.

The most direct route to the summit is to follow the signage for the Central Peak trail, a 3.3-mile distance. In general, proceed towards the higher elevation for the shortest route. There are many side trails that can be taken to add loops and additional viewpoints. Once you reach the Bullitt Fireplace, the summit is only a short distance away. The lower parts of the trail are multi-use; the last 1.6 miles are hiker-only.

The park features a self-guided interpretive walk along the .3-mile Pretzel Tree Trail adjacent to the main trailhead. The trail is perfect for young kids, illustrating the importance of the creatures living in an ecosystem through Field Mouse's adventure on his search for the Pretzel Tree.

Driving Directions:

The park is located just south of Issaquah. Exit I-90 at Exit 15 and turning (right or left) southbound on Issaquah-Renton Road, driving 4 miles, then turning left on the May Valley Road and then driving 3 more miles to the Squak Mountain State Park parking lot (21500 May Valley Road) on the left.

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Recent Trip Reports

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There are 35 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Squak Mountain — Apr 13, 2014 — wafflesnfalafel
Day hike
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Walked a big loop around Squak Mountain from the Moutain Side Drive SW trail head just up the hill f...
Walked a big loop around Squak Mountain from the Moutain Side Drive SW trail head just up the hill from the Issaquah Library. Took a counter clockwise route from Fireplace to Eastside Trail, south on the 'short cut' east of Phil's Creek trail, up Summit Trail and the access road to the main peak, then over to the Bullit fire place, across West Peak trail and back around along Chybinsky Loop Trail for a total length of approx 5.5 miles.

The non-major trails, (West Peak and the short cut east of Phil's,) are rougher than the main trails, might want to avoid those if you have real young kids. The trails are in beautiful shape other than some big blow down from what looks like last year - but nothing you can crawl over or duck under. It was even warm enough today to get that 'summer forest' smell - delightful.

The one disappointment of Squak is that there really are no good views, just the tiny peak-a-boo glimpse of downtown Seattle next to the big microwave/cel installation at the main peak. But don't let that discourage you from going - it is a beautiful, quiet, walk in the woods super close to home.
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Squak Mountain, Central Peak, May Valley Trail, Bullitt Fireplace Trail — Mar 30, 2014 — Terriers on the Trail
Day hike
Issues: Blowdowns | Mudholes
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This was a great hike for dogs and people. Trails are very muddy close to the peak, so be careful on...
This was a great hike for dogs and people. Trails are very muddy close to the peak, so be careful on the way down and wear good shoes. There were lots of downed trees, but most were clear of the trail.

Signs aren't great on this trail. The distances aren't accurate and some turns are unmarked or it's unclear which direction the arrows are indicating. Taking 30 minutes to go ".3 mi" can be frustrating. But, it's nothing that would keep me off of a trail.

Also, I saw a few flowers getting ready to bloom. Spring is here!
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Central Peak, Squak Mountain, Pretzel Tree Trail — Mar 29, 2014 — Taum Sauk
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Blowdowns | Mudholes
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We took an afternoon day trip to Squak Mountain. We thought the hike was fitting for a cloudy and so...
We took an afternoon day trip to Squak Mountain. We thought the hike was fitting for a cloudy and somewhat rainy day, since the hike is mostly under forest canopy, and there are limited views. We decided to approach from the Squak Mountain State Park parking lot, at 21500 May Valley Road. We arrived at 1:15 pm, and there were a few spots left in the parking lot when we arrived.

At the start of the hike, there was a trail crew from the Mountains to Sound Greenway performing trail maintenance. Their major project was building a turnpike. I had planned to take the May Valley/Phil's Trail loop, but it was easiest to follow the signs for the Central Peak trail, which is 3.3 miles each way. The trail is in moderate condition. There are a lot of places that require improved drainage, despite the many turnpikes already in place. We encountered several mudholes. There was one blowdown. Also, there are a few spots where the signage is potentially confusing. I recommend following the arrows for the Central Peak, but at 2 miles in (1.3 miles from Central Peak), make a turn to the right and proceed uphill.

Wildlife sighted included a Dark-eyed Junko and a field mouse. A few Pacific banana slugs were out. The undergrowth is just starting to grow green leaves. Just after starting out, we ran into two equines, complete with riders, ascending the trail (watch out for ample horse droppings on this trail). We saw a few other hikers on the way up and down, but we had the trail mostly to ourselves.

We reached the Bullitt Fireplace and ate lunch. We then continued a little farther to Central Peak, but we did not go all the way to the tower. At the top, salmonberry is just starting to bloom.

We descended by the route we came, finishing at 5 pm. After descending, I went to walk the Pretzel Tree Loop. I enjoyed the storyboards starring the field mouse, and I also saw what I believe was Western trillium in bloom.
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Squak Mountain — Feb 09, 2014 — maybekatie
Day hike
Issues: Blowdowns | Snow on trail
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SuperMegaBestrons ventured out into the snow to find Squak Mountain. The lot was empty when we arriv...
SuperMegaBestrons ventured out into the snow to find Squak Mountain. The lot was empty when we arrived and covered in snow. We hadn't been here prior, so we opted to explore the loop. Unfortunately we ran into a downed tree that we couldn't easily navigate around and chose to turn back and try a different train. We ended up heading straight up to the top (microwave) via a very icy road completely covered in snow. The snow fell almost the entire time we were out which made for beautiful ambiance. All said we managed 8.5 miles on this Squak Mountain adventure.
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Squak Mountain — Oct 06, 2013 — Yasobara
Day hike
Features: Fall foliage
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My wife, Milo, the dog, and I hiked in Squak Mountain State Park. The weather was great. This is our...
My wife, Milo, the dog, and I hiked in Squak Mountain State Park. The weather was great. This is our “go to” park on sunny weekend. We arrived at the trailhead on Mountainside Drive at 10:35. There were five cars at the parking area. We started hiking at 10:45 and we reached Debbie’s viewpoint with a nice view of Mount Rainier at 11:47. We had the viewpoint to ourselves and had lunch. We returned to our car by 1 pm.
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Location
Issaquah Alps -- Squak Mountain
Washington State Parks
Statistics
Roundtrip 6.6 miles
Elevation Gain 1684 ft
Highest Point 2024 ft
Features
Rivers
Wildflowers/Meadows
Mountain views
Wildlife
User info
Dogs allowed on leash
May encounter pack animals
Discover Pass required
Guidebooks & Maps
http://www.parks.wa.gov/parks/thumbnailAndmaps/8600342.pdf
National Geographic Issaquah Alps Mount Si 824

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