Squak Mountain - Central Peak & Bullitt Chimney Trails

A great alternative to Tiger or Cougar Mountain with a healthy dose of local history to add a little flavor to your hike.
Total Distance: 4.6 miles
Total Ascent: 1300ft
Highest Point: 2000ft
Difficulty: Easy
Our Hiking Time: 1h 45m
Required Permit: Discover Pass
To get there, take I-90 to exit 17. Head right onto Front Street N following it to W Sunset Way. Take a right and head straight, following Sunset Way as it changes into Mountain Park Boulevard. After .9 miles veer left onto Mountainside Drive. Continue for .4 miles to a sharp bend in the road and short spur with recreation signs. Park here and find the trailhead at the end of the spur. View Google Directions >>
From the parking area, the well-maintained and gentle Bullitt Fireplace Trail enters a dense, mixed forest. Before long you’ll encounter the first of many trail junctions, as the Squak trail network is fairly extensive. However, nearly every fork in the trail is well signed, making it unlikely that you will get too twisted around. There is detailed trail map at the trailhead which can help give you a rough idea of where you’re going before you set out.

After navigating a few junctions you’ll reach the Bulliett Chimney, that remains of the summer home that once stood here. The chimney and cement foundation sit in a clearing along with a forlorn picnic table. When you’re ready continue down the trail for a short distance to the junction with the Central Peak Trail where the trail will became a little steeper and the forest a little denser with Douglas fir and sword fern. Before long you’ll reach the microwave towers that currently reside on Squak’s summit, along with views of Tiger Mountain and parts of Issaquah.

Squak is great for walking the dog or getting in some trail running close to home, and we would highly recommend bringing the family out for a stroll. With miles of trail to explore, it’s easy to put together a loop or a hike to visit a new area of the park. The well-maintained trails are not only easy to navigate and are readily accessible year round, but they are also much less popular than trails on neighboring Tiger or Cougar Mountains.

History

Squak Mountain is tucked between Tiger and Cougar Mountains, somehow dodging the feline-themed naming craze that struck the area back in the day. Back in 1940, a scion of Seattle’s Bullitt family, Stimson Bullitt purchased 590 acres on Squak Mountain. An avid outdoorsman, he wanted to have a weekend and vacation home outside of the city. He had a cabin designed and construction was completed by 1952, but Stimson ended up spending only a few nights there, as his wife at the time refused to spend time at the cabin. As a result the cabin stood unoccupied years, and vandals eventually set fire to it. The roof was intact for some time after as groups celebrated the first Earth Day in 1971 under its cover. While Bullitt's children donated the cabin and surrounding acerage to the state in 1972, by 1975 the roof was gone; collapsed when all the supports were pulled out by people with jeeps. Since then the State of Washington has since managed to expand the boundaries of the park to encompass some 1,545 acres.
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