Taylor Mountain is a newer addition to the King County Parks system, standing out for its intersecting network of narrow trails and wide roads, and for its history of different land use practices. Between the 1880s and 1970s, the forest was repeatedly logged, and even hosted 15 miles of railroad and a handful of sawmills. Currently, it is a Forest Stewardship Council certified working forest, emphasizing sustainable management practices as well as recreation for hikers, mountain bike riders, and horseback riders.
This recently improved trail has been rerouted onto solid tread to avoid a muddy section that once caused perennial woe to hikers and horses alike. Leave your car and go past a gated entrance to a short walk along an access road that leads to the official start of the Elk Ridge Trail. Notice the solid ground beneath your feet and thank the coordinated effort between King County Parks, WTA and many hardworking volunteers to improve this section. Ahhh, that new trail smell! From here, a medium incline takes you across beautiful lush slopes. Up ahead are some steep sections before the trail crests out at a high point. This section of the Taylor Mountain Forest is on City of Seattle Cedar Watershed property. Signs along the edge of the trail remind hikers not to wander into off-limits areas. After a creek crossing, follow a gentle traverse to trail’s end. At this point, either continue on to the Hermit Trail, connect to any number of other trails, or head back and call it a day.