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South Access Road

Issaquah Alps


Issaquah Alps -- Squak Mountain
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5.4 miles, roundtrip


Gain: 1606 ft.
Highest Point: 2037 ft.


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Parking Pass/Entry Fee

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Ascend Squak Mountain via the most direct route available, the South Access Road, which still permits you to experience preserved mountain rainforest, wildflowers, mushrooms, and fauna, enjoying occasional glimpses of the surrounding mountains and lowlands. If desired, take a side excursion along one of the connector trails on Squak’s southern flank for a more intense nature experience.

Squak Mountain is the peak less traveled—and least forested—of the Issaquah Alps. For decades, the Bullitt family owned 590 acres of Squak Mountain forestland, and their 1972 bequest to form Squak Mountain State Park stipulated that the land not be logged. As a result, Squak boasts relatively preserved old growth forest and ecosystem compared with its more popular neighbors Tiger and Cougar. Like its neighbors, Squak has a complex trail system with many intersections, but you can summit without confusion via the South Access Road.

From the trailhead at the parking area, start on the trail leading to the May Valley Loop. At 0.1 miles turn right onto the access road, and climb gently through a forest of Douglas fir, western hemlock, red cedar, alder, and bigleaf maple. You will pass intersections with a number of trails or their connectors: Bullitt Gorge Trail, Equestrian Loop Trail, Horse Connector Trail, and Phil’s Connector Trail. A brief foray along one of those trails will offer a closer look at Squak’s rich flora and fauna, including cascade Oregon-grape, salmonberry, thimbleberry, vine maple, devil’s club, European black slugs, and Pacific banana slugs.

The South Access Road is the most direct ascent of Squak and steadily gains 600 feet per mile of trail. Near the summit, the access road curls to the left, climbing upward more steeply before it curls to the right and reaches the summit. The summit scene is dominated by transmitter towers, featuring a single peekaboo glimpse of downtown Seattle to the northwest.

WTA Pro Tip: consider bringing a map and a compass and using Phil’s Creek Trail or the Bullitt Gorge Trail for a descent that is easier on the knees.


South Access Road

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 47.4841, -122.0434 Open map in new window


Issaquah Alps -- Squak Mountain

Squak Mountain--South Access Road (#SQUAK-S1)

Washington State Parks

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Guidebooks & Maps

National Geographic Issaquah Alps Mount Si 824

Squak Mountain Trails Map

Getting There

From Seattle, take I-90 east to exit 15. Turn south on WA-900/17th Ave NW and head 4.0 miles to the intersection with SE May Valley Road. Turn left on SE May Valley Road, and go east 2.4 miles until the entrance to Squak Mountain State Park on the left. The parking area is 300 feet directly ahead. There are spaces for approximately 15 cars. A privy and kiosk with a map are located at the parking area.

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South Access Road

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