Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park is the gem of King County's 25,000 acre park system. Just minutes from Eastside cities such as Bellevue, Newcastle and Issaquah, Cougar Mountain Park provides an excellent example of our region’s unique historical, cultural and natural heritage. Located in the "Issaquah Alps", Cougar Mountain Park preserves important wildlife habitat while offering ample opportunities for recreation.
About the park
Thanks to several key acquisitions, the park, which originally was created by a considerable outpouring of public support, has evolved over time to its current size of 3,100 acres. The park is connected to Squak Mountain State Park by the Cougar-Squak Corridor, which together create a protected area of public land of approximately 5,000 acres.
The park generally lies between 1,000 and 1,595 feet above sea level and features many diverse habitats, such as mature second growth forests, streams and wetlands, and cliffs, talus, and caves. There are sweeping views of the region, including vistas of Lake Sammamish, the Cascades, and Bellevue, Seattle and beyond; other, more densely vegetated areas of the park whisk you away from the sights and sounds of nearby urban development. Hosts of birds are regularly seen at Cougar, along with wildlife such as black bear and bobcats.
Over the years, Cougar Mountain has been home to Native Americans, miners, loggers, and even the US Army! For thousands of years, Native Americans traversed Cougar Mountain to gather wild roots, plants and berries, as well as to hunt game and other animals. Then, when the region began to be settled, miners worked the hills of Cougar Mountain for close to a century, up until the middle of the twentieth century. Logging operations took place during the 1920s, and there was even some small-scale farming, which helped supply miners, loggers, and their families with fresh produce.
In the 1950s and early 60s, two active Nike missile sites were located within the park’s current boundaries, in order to protect the Puget Sound region from potential air attacks. Eventually, these sites were decommissioned, and in the late 1960s, King County took over ownership of the land that would later become Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park.
For access see below
8:00 am to dusk
Red Town Trailhead
From I-90: Take Exit 13 and drive south on Lakemont Blvd SE for 3.1 miles. Look for the entrance to the Red Town Trailhead on the left side of the road.
From I-405: Take Exit 10 and follow Coal Creek Pkwy SE for 2.4 miles to the shopping center. Turn left at the light onto SE 72nd Pl and then left again at Newcastle Gold Club Road. Follow that for 1.9 miles. The entrance to Red Town Trailhead is on the right side of the road just after the big bend.
Sky Country Trailhead
From I-90: Take Exit 13 and drive south on Lakemont Blvd SE for 2.5 miles. Turn left on SE Cougar Mountain Way and then right on 166th Way SE. Follow 166th to its end (0.7 mi). On the right is the Sky Country Trailhead parking lot (horse trailer space available).
Anti-Aircraft Peak Trailhead
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 Pl SE and then right to become SE 60th St). Turn off 60th St uphill onto the dead end road, SE Cougar Mountain Dr. The road will change to gravel - at the end is the trailhead.
Wilderness Creek Trailhead
From I-90: Take Exit 15 and drive south on Hwy 900 (17th Ave NW and then Renton-Issaquah Road SE) for 3.3. miles. Look for the trailhead sign and an asphalt driveway that goes uphill to the right.