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Surprise Creek

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There are 8 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Surprise Creek Trail E2 — Nov 22, 2012 — gendron
Day hike
Issues: Snow on trail
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1/2 mile up trail found mountain lion tracks and large area on trail sprayed with urine...
1/2 mile up trail found mountain lion tracks and large area on trail sprayed with urine
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Shangri La, Surprise Creek Trail E2, Red Cedars E12, Precipice Trail, Bear Ridge, West Tibbett's Creek Trail (#COUGAR-E10) , Anti-Aircraft Ridge, Lost Beagle — Jul 20, 2012 — viji133hp
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming | Ripe berries
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The trail was in good condition for the most part with thick forest around. Only around the Shangri ...
The trail was in good condition for the most part with thick forest around. Only around the Shangri La Trail which was after the precipice top trail junction till turning southward, there were parts of the trail which was slightly overgrown. The trail is good for a nice hike with slight elevation at few places, but we couldn't get any great views because of the fog.

Started the hike around 7.45 am and was first car at the trailhead. There is a good view point right at the trailhead, but unfortunately, it was a foggy day and there was almost no visibility of the view, only could make out that there was a lake in the distance. We started the trail by going east from the trailhead went till the Fantastic Erratic (this was basically a big rock) and then to the clay pit and then took the anti aircraft ridge trail and lost beagle trail back to the trailhead. It took us around 3.5 hours to complete the loop.
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Precipice Trail, Shangri La, Surprise Creek Trail E2, Big Tree Trail, Military Ridge E14 , Red Cedars — Oct 09, 2009 — Alpine Art
Day hike
Issues: Blowdowns
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This is the second time I have tried this hike after first seeing it on the King County Map of Couga...
This is the second time I have tried this hike after first seeing it on the King County Map of Cougar Mountain. The hike is a challenge to route finding skills as much of the hike lies outside the park boundaries. Since my last trip to this area, the park has put up signs and done trail work on the Red Cedars and Military Ridge Trails, however, once outside the Park directions to other trails in the loop become non-existent or sketchy.

Having said all this, it was worth exploration of the area. The "Precipice" from Big Tree Trail is impressive and this trail is how I finally solved the puzzle of the route. My first attempt was to take Military Ridge down, this trail appears to end in a park - playground in the Talus development and I could not find the Precipice Bottom trail - it turns out to be there but hidden by a construction berm. So back up to the Big Tree Trail and down it, about 0.6 miles down this trail I came to a small sign noting Talus 0.5 miles Rough Trail. I took a chance that this was the correct trail and started on what proved to be the Precipice Bottom Trail (no sign noting it as such).

The Precipice Bottom Trail is very rough in places, with short steep pitches, a section that is angled on hard pan (clay) which would likely be very nasty in wet weather. The trail ends just after the third drainage/creek crossing on a small bridge and back at the park - playground area.

These trails are not hiked frequently and are in the noise zone of I-90 but offer solace and challenge. My guess is that I covered about 6 miles and 1200 feet of elevation gain/loss in the trek. Many thanks to King County for the additional trail work and signage.

These trails need some upgrading, but are not overly difficult once you find the route and the weather is not too wet.
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East Fork, Tibbett's Marsh, Bear Ridge, Surprise Creek, Coyote, West Tibbett's Creek Trail (#COUGAR-E10) , Old Man's Trail, By Pass Trail — Apr 14, 2009 — whitebark
Day hike
Issues: Mudholes
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Winter just won't let go on Cougar Mountain, which sported a coat of new snow on its higher elevatio...
Winter just won't let go on Cougar Mountain, which sported a coat of new snow on its higher elevations today. But the sun finally did come out in the afternoon, promising better weather to come. There were lots of new leaves and buds on the plants--I even saw a trillium blooming.

Here are the conditions of the Cougar Mountain trails that I visited:

Old Man Trail (C11):

Good, a little muddy.

Bypass Trail (C9):

Good condition. One short slope was a bit scoured by water runoff.

East Fork Trail (C8):

Mud is a problem in spots. Recently worked on by the WTA. Drainage is working well, but some of the clay soil used for fill is mushy.

Tibbets Marsh Trail, south end from Clay Pit Road to creek(N9):

Some of the recent work done by the WTA may have to be redone, because the clay fill dirt has turned into a mushy, trampled mess in places. Hopefully, summer weather will solidify the clay permanently.

W. Tibbetts Creek (E10):

One of the prettier trails on Cougar, which gives views into Tibbetts Creek's little gorge. An old low-standard trail, muddy and rooty in places.

Bear Ridge (E3):

Another nice trail with some interesting scenery, home of the Fantastic Erratic. A few mud holes and eroded sections with failed drainage higher up. Great condition lower down.

Talus Connector

A new and well-crafted trail forming a useful link between the Bear Ridge Trail and the Talus development. In excellent condition.

Surprise Creek Trail (E2):

Serious drainage problems and erosion below No Name Trail junction. One big blowdown. This trail needs help! Above No Name, the trail is in much better condition, although the somewhat undersized drain dips (as usual) need maintenance.

Coyote Creek Trail (C3):

In good shape, mud holes are the main problem. There are a few filled-in drain dips toward the top end of the trail.




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Surprise Creek, Shangri La, Bear Ridge — Feb 07, 2009 — Alpine Art
Day hike
Issues: Mudholes
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A hike in the clouds was what this day was for the most part. Our group from the Issaquah Alps Trai...
A hike in the clouds was what this day was for the most part. Our group from the Issaquah Alps Trails Club started in the sun at AA Peak heading down the Shangri La Trail to the Surprise Creek Trail, looping down to the Talus Community area and then up about 400 feet to the Bear Ridge Trail.

The Bear Ridge and parts of the Surprise Creek Trail are quite muddy from recent rains and snow melt. The Surprise Creek Trail is also a bit rough once past the Precipice Top junction.

The new Talus Bridge Creek Trail is a short 1/4 mile walk off the Bear Ridge Trail and connects with the new Talus Community. The bridge over the West Fork of Tibbetts Creek is quite impressive and is made of a plastic/fiber glass composite material. Scott Seamans who organized most of the work on this trail was present, still working on sections just north of the bridge and gave us all a guided tour of the trail discussing its construction and the assistance of Issaquah community in obtaining the land and putting in the bridge.

The hike was fairly easy with about 3.5 to 4.0 miles of walking, 400 feet elevation gain and about 1400 feet of elevation loss (a bit hard on my knees, but good conditioning for the upcoming summer hiking).
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WTA worked here!
2011, 2012, 2013
Location
Issaquah Alps -- Cougar Mountain

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Red MarkerSurprise Creek
47.7108402 -121.1587151
  • Trail Work 2013 Frontcountry
  • Trail Work 2012
  • Trail Work 2011
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