As if Cougar Mountain Park didn’t have enough superlatives attached to it (our largest park, most popular local hiking spot, best for trail running, shall we continue?), here’s one more: New trail! New access point! In Issaquah! Off Newport Way NW!
Did you catch you that? Yep, now there’s one more new way to get into the park to experience the awesomeness of its 35 miles of trails. Thanks to funding from the voter-approved 2008-2013 Open Space & Trails Levy, and grants from the state’s Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program and the local Conservation Futures Tax, King County Parks acquired 65 acres in the northeast corner of park over the last three years.
And if that wasn’t reason enough to celebrate, here’s one more: With the help of volunteers from Washington Trails Association, we’re about to complete nearly a mile of new trail, part of the Big Tree Ridge trail, effectively connecting the park to Newport Way NW in Issaquah (granted, it’s a steep trail from the street up to the bluff, not for faint of heart, but still!). Although there’s still some work to be done on the trail, it is already open to the public.
In the future, the lower area (pictured above) is slated to become a full trailhead, with formal parking, restrooms, and signage. In the interim, you can park on the shoulder of Newport Way NW or better yet, TAKE THE BUS! The #210 passes right by this entrance or you can go to the Issaquah Park and Ride and stroll on over to this new entry point.
The development of this area as a trailhead depends on future funding and is currently included in the Executive’s 2014-2019 Parks Levy Proposal.