Your Quick Guide to the Best Hikes in the Issaquah Alps

Just outside the energetic pulse of Seattle, the Issaquah Alps stand as a quick retreat to nature. It has some of the best hikes and peaks in the region such as Poo Poo Point, West Tiger #3, Squak Mountain, and Cougar Mountain.

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or beginner, these Issaquah Alps hikes offer a variety of experiences—from quiet forest paths to challenging climbs with breathtaking views.

You’ll enjoy hiking on a network of trails shaped by the footsteps of many adventurers. Such an excellent way to connect with nature!

This guide will offer you:

  • The best ways to get to Issaquah Alps from Seattle and Bellevue
  • Detailed descriptions of various hiking trails, including their difficulty levels and unique features
  • Tips on the best times to visit, what to bring, and how to stay safe during your hike
  • Recommendations for RV-friendly activities in the area

How to Get to Issaquah Alps

The Issaquah Alps are easily accessible from Seattle and Bellevue, two major cities in WA. Whether by car or public transit, these cities offer convenient routes to the trailheads.

From Seattle to the Issaquah Alps

You can get to Issaquah Alps from Seattle by car, public transport, or taxi.

By Car

  • Direct route: Take I-90 E from Seattle. Depending on your exact trailhead destination, exits 15 through 20 will lead you into different parts of the Issaquah Alps.

The typical drive time is around 30 minutes in good traffic conditions.

  • Scenic option: Opt for the Lake Sammamish Loop, starting on WA-520 E and connecting to WA-202, enjoying the scenic drive around Lake Sammamish before joining up with I-90 E near Issaquah.

By Public Transit

  • Bus: King County Metro and Sound Transit offer bus services with routes that stop in Issaquah Alps. Sound Transit Route 554 operates a bus from S Jackson St & Maynard Ave S to E Sunset Way & Rainier Blvd S every 30 minutes. It’s a 37-minute journey. King County Metro operates twice daily through the same route, and it takes about 49 minutes to reach Issaquah Alps. Whichever option you choose, be certain you’ll be dropped in the heart of Issaquah within a short distance of several trailheads.
  • Light rail to bus: Future expansions of the Sound Transit light rail system will enhance access to the Issaquah area, making it even easier for hikers without a car.

Travel Tip: For both car and transit travelers, check the latest traffic updates and transit schedules before you leave, as peak times can significantly alter travel plans. Plan for extra time on weekends and holidays, especially in good weather as these popular trails draw many visitors.

By Taxi

You can also take a Taxi from Seattle to Issaquah Alps. The average time is 21 minutes with an estimated price of $50-$65.

Top taxi services in the region include:

  • STITA Taxi
  • Seattle Yellow
  • Orange Cab

From Bellevue to the Issaquah Alps

Similar to Seattle, you can get to Issaquah Alps from Bellevue by car, taxi, or public transit.

By Car

  • Fastest route: Take I-90 E directly from Bellevue. With lighter traffic, you could reach the Alps in under 20 minutes.
  • Alternative route: For a less freeway-dependent route, consider taking Bellevue Way SE to I-90. This route provides a mix of urban and interstate driving.

Expert Tip: Arrive early at Issaquah Alps trailheads as parking fills up fast.

By Public Transit

Multiple bus lines can connect you from Bellevue to Issaquah, including:

  • Line 271 bus which offers a direct link to the Issaquah Transit Center. It takes about 41 minutes to get to the Alps.
  • Line 550 and Line 554 buses are other suitable options.

By Taxi

It takes an average of 15 minutes to get to the Issaquah Alps by taxi. Most taxi services cost $35-$45. Examples include:

  • STITA Taxi
  • Seattle Yellow Cab
  • Orange Cabs

Popular Peaks of the Issaquah Alps

Issaquah Alps is known for its peaks that have stunning views and diverse ecosystems. These peaks also have a variety of hiking trails, making them a favorite among hikers of all levels and nature enthusiasts.

Popular peaks of the Issaquah Alps include:

Tiger Mountain

Tiger Mountain has an elevation of 3,000 feet at the highest peak.

The best trails for hiking include:

  • Poo Poo Point Trail: A moderate 7.2 miles round trip with a steady incline, renowned for its paragliding launch pad and stunning views of Mount Rainier on clear days.
  • West Tiger 3: A more challenging option at about 5 miles round trip with an elevation gain of 2,001 feet. It’s a popular training ground for its steep, thigh-burning sections.
  • Tiger Mountain Trail: Spanning over 15 miles one way with an elevation of 2,360 feet, this trail is for the more dedicated hiker-thoroughly exploring the mountain’s rugged terrains.

For the Sporty: The Tiger mountain offers mountain biking trails, from challenging downhill courses for experienced riders to more moderate options like the Preston Railroad Grade and Northwest Timber trails.

Cougar Mountain

Cougar Mountain has an elevation of 1,595 feet at its highest point.

The top trails in Cougar Mountain include:

  • Wildside Trail-De Leo Wall Loop: A 4-mile loop of moderate difficulty, featuring waterfalls and a sweeping view of Bellevue and Lake Washington.
  • Coal Creek Falls Trail: An easier, family-friendly 2.5-mile round trip hike leading to a lovely waterfall, especially full during the wet season.

Squak Mountain

Squak Mountain has an elevation of 2,024 at the summit. A portion of the mountain is the 1,545-acre Squak Mountain State Park.

Popular trails here include:

  • Squak Mountain Connector Trail: It’s a 3.6-mile round trip and is an excellent option for those seeking a less crowded experience.
  • Central Peak Trail: A steep 3.9-mile round trip that offers a workout with the reward of reaching the top, where views peek through the dense forest.

Did You Know? The Squak Mountain is home to the Snoqualmie and Duwamish People.

Taylor Mountain

Taylor Mountain has an elevation of 2,625 feet at the highest point.

Notable trails in this mountain include:

  • Taylor Mountain Trail: A 5-mile round trip with moderate difficulty. It’s less traveled, offering a peaceful hike with chances to see wildlife.
  • Holder Ridge Trail: An easier, 3-mile loop, perfect for a quick, refreshing walk through the forest.

Rattlesnake Mountain

The elevation of Rattlesnake Mountain reaches 3,500 feet at Rattlesnake Ledge and continues to the east.

Rattlesnake Mountain has trails such as:

  • Rattlesnake Ledge Trail: A very popular 4-mile round trip trail, famous for its breathtaking views from the ledge over Rattlesnake Lake.
  • Rattlesnake Mountain Trail: An extensive 10.9-mile one-way trek across the ridge, offering solitude and a series of viewpoints.

Tips for Matching Trails to Experience Levels

  • Beginner: Look for trails with ‘easy’ ratings, minimal elevation gain, and shorter distances. For example, the Coal Creek Falls Trail on Cougar Mountain is a perfect start.
  • Intermediate: Choose ‘moderate’ trails that offer longer distances and more significant elevation gains, like the Poo Poo Point Trail on Tiger Mountain.
  • Advanced: Opt for with ‘challenging’ difficulty, steep inclines, and longer distances. The Rattlesnake Mountain Trail offers just that with an extended trek across the ridge.

Regardless of the trail you choose, always check the weather, and start early if you can, bring plenty of water and snacks, and let someone know where you’re going.

silhouette of six people with backpacks walking on a trail

What to Consider When Planning Your Hike

Consider the following factors when planning your hike to the Issaquah Alps:

Weather and Seasonal Considerations

Check the forecast to avoid the unpredictable weather of the Issaquah Alps. This will help you prepare for any quick changes, especially when heading to higher elevations.

Plan your hike during daylight hours for the sake of visibility and safety. Also, in the fall and winter months-the days are shorter-meaning you have less daylight to work with. Start our hike early during these seasons to maximize the available daylight. Or, opt for a shorter trail to ensure you’re back before evening.

Also, consider seasonal access when planning your hike. The table below shows what to expect when hiking during different seasons and tips to make your hike a success.





Some trails may be inaccessible due to snow

  • Dress appropriately in warm, moisture-wicking layers and insulated, waterproof boots
  • Carry necessary equipment like snowshoes or crampons and an ice axe if needed
  • Be prepared for shorter daylight hours
  • Check trail conditions beforehand


Trails can be muddy due to melting snow

  • Start early to avoid afternoon thunderstorms Stay hydrated
  • Protect against the sun with a hat, sunscreen, and UV-protective clothing


Trails may feature drier conditions but higher temperatures

  • Start early to avoid the heat of the day
  • Stay hydrated
  • Protect against the sun with a hat, sunscreen, and UV-protective clothing


Trails are usually accessible, but weather can be unpredictable

  • Be aware of hunting seasons and wear bright colors
  • Watch for changing weather and be prepared for sudden changes

Wildlife and Safety Tips

  • Stay alert: The area is home to wildlife such as black bears and cougars. Make noise while hiking, travel in groups, and keep food packed away.
  • Stay prepared: Carry bear spray where appropriate, know how to use it, and understand what to do if you encounter wildlife.
  • Emergency readiness: Have a map and compass and know how to use them. Cell service may be unreliable. Also, carry a basic first aid kit and know basic first aid procedures.

Leave No Trace Principles Specific to the Issaquah Alps

We all share the responsibility of preserving the natural beauty of our landscapes, the Issaquah Alps not exempted. Follow the golden Leave No Trace Principles to preserve Issaquah Alps for future generations.

The seven Leave No Trace Principles when hiking in the Issaquah Alps include:

  1. Plan ahead and prepare: Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you’ll visit.
  2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces: Stay on established trails and avoid creating new ones.
  3. Dispose of waste properly: Pack it in, pack it out. This includes all food waste, litter, and other garbage.
  4. Leave what you find: Preserve the past; examine, but do not touch, cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
  5. Minimize campfire impacts: Some areas prohibit campfires. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
  6. Respect wildlife: Observe wildlife from a distance and never feed them.
  7. Be considerate of other visitors: Respect other trail users and protect the quality of their experience.
man and a woman sitting on a camping chair outside an RV parked near trees

Renting RVs for Adventure in Issaquah Alps

An adventure in the Issaquah Alps can be made even more memorable by renting an RV. Look. RVs offer a good blend of comfort and flexibility, allowing you to immerse yourself in nature without sacrificing the comforts of home.

Renting an RV from NW Adventure Rentals can be a good start to enjoying your adventure in the Issaquah Alps. Whether you’re looking for a compact camper for two or a larger motorhome for a family outing, you’re sure to find something that suits your needs.

Customers love NW Adventure Rentals. Here’s what they have to say:

Rented a Class A Winnebago for Labor Day. Had an awesome trip. The RV was in first class shape and well equipped. Easy pickup and return. Excellent people to deal with. Hope to rent there again soon.” — Alan Fuebringer, Verified Customer

We have rented twice. Both great experiences. If you are in need of extra bedrooms for visitors or in need of a place to stay during construction having a trailer delivered was a great option. These are much nicer than the hotel and a better price.” — Katy Gosser, Verified Customer

RV Parks and Campgrounds

Examples of RV parks and campgrounds within Issaquah Alps include:

  • Issaquah Village RV Park: Located conveniently in Issaquah, this park offers full hookups and is just a short drive from the trailheads.
  • Blue Sky RV Park: Nestled in the heart of the Alps, it’s perfect for those looking to wake up surrounded by nature, with easy access to both the town and the trails.
  • Tinkham Campground: For a more rustic experience, Tinkham offers spots along the river amidst the forest, though with fewer amenities and hookups.

In terms of accessibility, many trailheads in the Issaquah Alps are accessible by roads suitable for RVs. But, parking spaces can be limited, so arriving early or on weekdays is advised.

Other RV-friendly Activities

With your RV ready, here are some interesting activities for RV campers in the Issaquah Alps:

  • Scenic drives: The Mountains to Sound Greenway on I-90 offers a breathtaking drive with numerous spots to pull over and appreciate the view.
  • Picnic areas: Some trailheads and nearby parks such as Squak Mountain State Park offer picnic areas with tables and grills suitable for an RV stop.
  • Boating: Nearby lakes, such as Lake Sammamish, offer boating opportunities, with some facilities catering to RV visitors.
  • Local festivals: The town of Issaquah hosts various RV-friendly events throughout the year, including the famous Salmon Days Festival.
  • Wildlife viewing: The Issaquah Alps are home to a diverse range of wildlife. Keep your binoculars handy!
  • Stargazing: Far from the city lights, the night sky in the Issaquah Alps is amazing. You can enjoy stargazing right from your RV on a clear night.

Time to Hit the Trails of the Issaquah Alps

Issaquah Alps trails are more than just a hike; they present a chance to connect with nature responsibly and at a personal level. Each step on the trail is a promise to future hikers—a commitment to Leave No Trace and to keep the wilderness wild.

The Issaquah Alps offer more than just hiking; with a rented RV, you can explore diverse trailheads, enjoy boating, take scenic picnic drives, and even attend local festivals.

What’s more? An RV offers a warm place to return to after a day’s adventure. It also provides the freedom to linger longer, watch the sunrise, or fall asleep to the sounds of nature outside your door.

Time to lace up your boots, pack your essentials, and set out to find your special spot within the Alps. Maybe it’s a serene overlook on Tiger Mountain or a quiet, canopied bend in the trails of Cougar Mountain. Each visit can be a new chapter in your personal outdoor adventures.