Cougar Mountain Loop

Today was a good day for a close to Seattle hike. With snow covering mountain trails a little dirt hike sounded good. I arrived at the Red Town trailhead at 9:10 to find only 4 cars in the lot. It was overcast but there was no signs of impending rain.

The beauty of Cougar, Squak, and Tiger Mountains is the ease in putting together long or short trips. This day I wanted some mileage. I headed off on the Indian Trail passing the Quarry Trail and heading on the the turnoff for Far Country Lookout. The lookout used to have great views but growing trees are closing them out. Just like on Tiger 3, Tiger 2, Middle Tiger. and Longview Peak.

My counter clockwise loop continued to the next junction where I turned right and headed towards Doughty Falls. I took a short side trip to the falls. The trail climbs up Deceiver Ridge then reaches Longview Peak. No snow on the trail so far. Less then half a mile later I reached Shy Bear Pass and then climbed to the high point of the day, Wilderness Peak. Several spots higher on the mountain had snow along the trail but there is almost none on the trail itself.

From Wilderness Peak I back tracked to Shy Bear Pass then headed down to Fred's Railroad. Passing the upper end of the Quarry Trail I soon turned right on the trail to the Clay Pit. Near the Quarry Trail I met Aussie. Since running into her on Mt. Dickerman over a year ago I hadn't seen her until Thanksgiving. Now twice in less than 2 days. Jerry's duck pond was frozen with leaves in the ice. I should have brought a camera. I expected to see lots of snow in the open at the Clay Pit. Snow shows all the many animal tracks always there. There was only a smattering of snow.

Next came the trail to Anti-Aircraft Peak. Muddy here but snow free. A drop to Tibbetts Creek then up again. The bridge over the creek was icy. From AA Peak I hiked to Cougar Pass and the Klondike Swamp trail to the Clay Pit Road. Fred's Railroad took me to the Quarry Trail. I left that trail on the route to Coal Creek Falls. Lots of water in the falls. More ups and downs led to the Cave Hole Road then down to near Red Town. I more detour back to the Ford Slope then on to the Red Town trailhead. This loop ended up being 12 miles per the GPS with 2100' of gain. It's only 1000' from the low to high point but the ups and downs doubled that.

After lowland snow this week the rain has melted the snow on the trails of Cougar. There was snow along the route in a few places but it is a dirt hike once again. I saw almost nobody the first few hours then more folks nearer the trailhead. The lot was full when I returned. For the most part I had a lot of solitude. It began to rain the last half mile after a dry morning. All in all, a great day for a long but easy hike.

Trips - 2010