The High School Trail can be an easy first hike for young hikers, or it can be a pleasant stroll for experienced hikers when they have limited time. For many, this is a gateway to other trails that lead on to more distant goals, such as the Adventure Trail (to the west end of Tradition Plateau,) the Poo Poo Point Trail (it gets to the point, of course) and the Section Line Trail (toward the higher Tiger summits.)
Your hike can begin from either of two trailheads near Issaquah High School.
If you are beginning at the northern trailhead at the end of SE Evans St (see Driving Directions) head south on the obvious trail (signed "Trail"). Avoid any side trails that head left into the forest. Just continue on south, pass the tennis courts and follow along a small power line. Soon, you will note a sign on the left up ahead, placed there by the Issaquah Alps Trail Club, proclaiming "High School Trail."
If, instead, you are beginning at the southern trailhead along 2nd Ave SE, just north of Front St, then head east on the obvious unsigned trail that leaves the parking area. Pass by some back yards and the soccer fields, and soon come to the same "High School Trail" sign that's encountered by folks coming from the northern trailhead.
Where the sign indicates you should turn, drop a few feet then hike a gentle arc to the left. In about a hundred feet reach an old road bed and turn sharply right, heading uphill.
You will pass an old metal gate that for many years was closed and had to be detoured around. Now (2016), it seems to be open all the time. About 400 feet beyond the gate, look downslope to the right of the trail and note an old metal bathtub, now partly filled with gravel. What its original purpose might have been no one today seems to know.
Farther along, come to a sign board with cautions about bears (yes they're out here, but rarely seen) and on the other side of the board you'll find a Green Trails map showing many Tiger Mountain trails. A bit farther along there is a side trail on the left. Just pass it, and continue along the main trail.
The trail begins to level out, and soon you will see a rustic sign on the left for the Adventure Trail. A bit farther along a small, quiet stream passes beneath the trail via a culvert. It comes from the direction of tiny Round Lake, and seems to run all year even in dry years.
Shortly, you will find yourself beneath a major power line with a signpost located just a few feet to your left. The signpost marks the official upper end of the High School Trail, although the Poo Poo Point and Section Line Trails continue on from there. You can return the way you came, or can continue on one of the ongoing trails if that's your plan for the day.
While the High School Trail is not really a wildflower hike, in spring it's likely you will see buttercups, salmon berry, thimble berry, avens, salal, white daisies, and sometimes even an odd trillium although they are more common higher up in the Tigers.
A few low honeysuckle vines do grow along the High School Trail, but sightings of the small bright-orange trumpet blooms seem to be fairly rare (be alert if you are hiking in May.) Also, you are likely to see a few squirrels, and there have been reports of occasional deer sightings. You will hear many bird calls, although some birds will manage to remain out of sight.
High School Trail
- 2.1 miles, roundtrip
- Elevation Gain
- 375 feet
- Highest Point
- 480 feet
Hiking High School Trail
High School Trail
Map & Directions
Co-ordinates: 47.5193, -122.0298 Open in Google Maps