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South Access Road

Issaquah Alps > Squak Mountain
47.4841, -122.0434 Map & Directions
Length
5.4 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
1606 feet
Highest Point
2037 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Moderate

Ascend Squak Mountain via the most direct route available, the South Access Road, which still permits you to experience preserved mountain rainforest, wildflowers, mushrooms, and fauna, enjoying occasional glimpses of the surrounding mountains and lowlands. If desired, take a side excursion along one of the connector trails on Squak’s southern flank for a more intense nature experience. Continue reading

  • Wildflowers/Meadows
  • Mountain views
  • Wildlife
  • Summits
  • Dogs allowed on leash
  • Fall foliage

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

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Rating
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Hiking South Access Road

Ascend Squak Mountain via the most direct route available, the South Access Road, which still permits you to experience preserved mountain rainforest, wildflowers, mushrooms, and fauna, enjoying occasional glimpses of the surrounding mountains and lowlands. If desired, take a side excursion along one of the connector trails on Squak’s southern flank for a more intense nature experience.

Squak Mountain is the peak less traveled—and least forested—of the Issaquah Alps. For decades, the Bullitt family owned 590 acres of Squak Mountain forestland, and their 1972 bequest to form Squak Mountain State Park stipulated that the land not be logged. As a result, Squak boasts relatively preserved old growth forest and ecosystem compared with its more popular neighbors Tiger and Cougar. Like its neighbors, Squak has a complex trail system with many intersections, but you can summit without confusion via the South Access Road.

From the trailhead at the parking area, start on the trail leading to the May Valley Loop. At 0.1 miles turn right onto the access road, and climb gently through a forest of Douglas fir, western hemlock, red cedar, alder, and bigleaf maple. You will pass intersections with a number of trails or their connectors: Bullitt Gorge Trail, Equestrian Loop Trail, Horse Connector Trail, and Phil’s Connector Trail. A brief foray along one of those trails will offer a closer look at Squak’s rich flora and fauna, including cascade Oregon-grape, salmonberry, thimbleberry, vine maple, devil’s club, European black slugs, and Pacific banana slugs.

The South Access Road is the most direct ascent of Squak and steadily gains 600 feet per mile of trail. Near the summit, the access road curls to the left, climbing upward more steeply before it curls to the right and reaches the summit. The summit scene is dominated by transmitter towers, featuring a single peekaboo glimpse of downtown Seattle to the northwest.

WTA Pro Tip: consider bringing a map and a compass and using Phil’s Creek Trail or the Bullitt Gorge Trail for a descent that is easier on the knees.

Hike Description Written by
Maxwell Krem, WTA Correspondent

South Access Road

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 47.4841, -122.0434 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

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Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Discover Pass

WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

Getting There

From Seattle, take I-90 east to exit 15. Turn south on WA-900/17th Ave NW and head 4.0 miles to the intersection with SE May Valley Road. Turn left on SE May Valley Road, and go east 2.4 miles until the entrance to Squak Mountain State Park on the left. The parking area is 300 feet directly ahead. There are spaces for approximately 15 cars. A privy and kiosk with a map are located at the parking area.

More Hike Details

Trailhead

Issaquah Alps > Squak Mountain

Squak Mountain--South Access Road (#SQUAK-S1)

Washington State Parks

Guidebooks & Maps

National Geographic Issaquah Alps Mount Si 824

Squak Mountain Trails Map

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South Access Road

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