Backcountry trail enthusiasts – including horseback riders, hikers and runners – now have improved access to King County Parks’ Taylor Mountain Forest, thanks to strong partnerships that brought volunteer muscle and grant funding to complete the work.
With the help of more than 5,000 hours of volunteer support, King County Parks’ Taylor Mountain Forest has a new trailhead that offers easy access to 30 miles of trails and forested gravel roads – including a portion of the City of Seattle’s municipal watershed along the Elk Ridge and Carey Creek trails.
“We could not have completed these improvements without support from our partners, including the volunteer groups and government agencies that joined with us to enhance these tremendous new amenities,” said Kevin Brown, director of King County Parks. “I want to thank each group for their commitment to seeing this project through to completion.”
A hidden gem among King County Parks’ 28,000 acres of open space, the 1,924-acre Taylor Mountain Forest is accessible off Southeast 188th Street near its intersection with 276th Avenue Southeast.
The new parking area includes room for 25 trucks and horse trailers, plus 25 standard vehicles, along with handicap parking that includes one for a horse trailer and truck. Through this project, the Tahoma Chapter - Backcountry Horsemen of Washington installed steps for mounting horses and hitching posts at multiple locations around the trailhead.
The trailhead also features a vault toilet and informational kiosk, while a new bioswale and stormwater infiltration pond will help improve water quality at the site.
In addition to the trailhead expansion, King County Parks worked with volunteers to improve two miles of the Elk Ridge and Carey Creek trails, relocating unsafe segments and improving drainage and surfacing.
Washington Trails Association, Tahoma Chapter-Back Country Horsemen of Washington, AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps and Tahoma Outdoor Academy all took part in multiple volunteer work parties at Taylor Mountain as part of this project.
“We are gratified to see this project completed,” Kathy Young of the Tahoma Chapter. “We are seeing lots of new visitors at the park, now that it is more easily accessible for horse trailers and trucks.”
Funding for this project was provided in part by the 2014-19 King County Parks, Trails, and Open Space Replacement Levy, Seattle Public Utilities, and the state Non-Highway Off-Road Vehicle Activities program.
Taylor Mountain Forest is the southernmost of the “Issaquah Alps,” near the community of Hobart in eastern King County. The county acquired its first parcel of Taylor Mountain Forest in 1997 and has grown the site to its current 1,924 acres.
A working forest with stunning views of Mount Rainier, Taylor Mountain is a popular location among horseback riders for year-round backcountry trail experiences.
Over the past decade, King County Parks and partners have worked to complete eight of the 10 projects identified in the 2004 Taylor Mountain Public Use Plan and Trails assessment, including improving nearly 10 miles of trails.
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About King County Parks
King County Parks - Your Big Backyard - offers more than 200 parks and 28,000 acres of open space, including such regional treasures as Marymoor Park and Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, 175 miles of regional trails, 215 miles of backcountry trails and a world-class aquatic center. By cultivating strong relationships with non-profit, corporate and community partners, King County Parks enhances park amenities while reducing costs.