The Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, about 20 miles from Seattle in Issaquah, is home to more than 35 miles of trails, plus connections to Squak Mountain. Trails are wide and well-marked, many are relatively flat, a great place to bring your family or your dog. Along the trails, there are several small attractions related to the area's mining history, as well several nice viewpoints and a couple of small waterfalls.
Interesting sites in the park include:
For the best introduction to the long-running history of the area, I recommend this article from the January 2010 issue of the Washington Trails magazine. There is also a shorter follow-up article, also by the WTA, available here. Using some additional sources - the park's website, Wikipedia, and two articles from the Issaquah Press - it's possible to assemble a basic timeline for the area:
There are more than 35 miles of official trails in the park, plus several unofficial ones. For the best map, courtesy of King County, click on the thumbnail below.
For the full list of trail, plus descriptions, I recommend the well-written Wikipedia entry.The only dedicated trail guide that I could find - The authoritative guide to the hiking trails of Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park and surrounds - appears to be out of print (Update, there appears to be a 1991 guide - Hiking and strolling trails of Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, Coal Creek Park, May Creek Park - available). However, several of the key hikes are mentioned in regional hiking guides.The table below identifies all the official, signed trails, their identifier (N=north, C=central, E=east, W=west) , and their mileage, with the note that signs may show a slightly different mileage. Trails in italics are covered below.
Red Town Trailhead
The Red Town Trailhead is the biggest and most commonly accessed trailhead, first-time visitors or families with children will want to start here, where the are portable toilets, information booths, and black and white copies of the map.
Coal Creek Falls
From the Red Town Trailhead, it's a little over 2 miles to Coal Creek Falls, via Red Town, Cave Hole and then Coal Creek Falls trails. For more details, see Day Hiking: Snoqualmie Region (Done in a Day) Hike #3
View Hike: Coal Creek Falls, Cougar Mountain, WA in a larger map
Wildside Trail - Marshall's Hill Trail - De Leo Wall Trail - Red Town Trail.
A loop out of several of the more popular trails heading out of the Red Town trailhead
View Hike: Wildside Trail - Marshall Hill, Cougar Mountain, WA in a larger map
View Hike: De Leo Wall - Redtown Trail, Cougar Mountain, WA in a larger map
This route heads south of the trailhead for roughly 3.5 miles, to the southernmost tip of the park. The trail connects with 112th, I don't know if it goes beyond that. A nice out and back if you want to get a 7-mile hike/run in.
View Cougar Mountain Hike in a larger map
Wilderness Creek Trailhead
Directions (from the King County Parks map):
From I-90: Take Exit 15 and drive south on Highway 900 (17th Ave NW then Renton-Issaquah Rd SE) for 3.3 miles. Look for the trailhead sign and an asphalt driveway that goes uphill and to the right.
Wilderness Creek Trail - Wilderness Peak Trail - Wilderness Cliffs Trail
A nice climb to a forested peak
renamed in honor of Harvey Manning in mid-2016) because of the radar station on the nearby peak, this trailhead provides access to several trails, including the Shangri La Trail, the Harvey Manning Trail and the Lost Beagle Trail, which leads to the remnants of the radar station. There are restrooms and picnic tables near the parking lot. It's also the highest trailhead at roughly 1400 ft, and there are several nice views close by.
View Hike: Wilderness Peak, Cougar Mountain, WA in a larger map
Directions (from the King County Parks map):
From I-90: Take Exit 13 and drive south on Lakemont Blvd SE for 2.5 miles. Turn left onto SE Cougar Mountain Way. Follow the double yellow line. (The road will first swing left and become 168th Place SE, and then right to become SE 60th St.) Turn off 60th St uphill onto the dead-end road, SE Cougar Mountain Drive. The road will change to gravel, and at the very end is the Anti-Aircraft Peak Trailhead, where you will find restrooms, picnic tables and a playfield.
Here's an example route, but the options are limitless.
View Hike: Shangri La Trail, Surprise Creek Trail, Cougar Mountain, WA in a larger map