CHS 2 Hike

Field trip: Conditioning Hiking Series

CHS 2 Hike - Wilderness Peak Loop

Come start the CHS hiking season on a hike that features bridges over creeks/streams, boardwalks over marshy areas, gigantic boulders and waterfalls while exploring on beautifully maintained trails.

COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers activity.
  • *Varies*
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 8.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 1,500 ft
  • Pace: 2.0-3.0 mph

Since the trailhead parking lot is very small, we will meet at the Tibbetts Valley Park & Ride at 7:00 am, consolidate hikers into carpools and depart for the trailhead no later than 7:15. It’s a 3 mile drive so we plan to arrive at the TH at 7:20.   If you choose to drive straight to the TH meet us there at 7:20. We plan to start the hike, not too long after 7:30. 

Directions to the Tibbetts Valley Park & Ride

Take exit 15 (WA-900 W/17th Avenue NW) off I-90 eastbound.  Take a right at the bottom of the ramp. Drive approximately ½ mile and turn left on Newport Way NW.  Take the first right into the Tibbetts Valley Park & Ride. (Not the multi-level parking garage on your left.)  Drive past the Skate park. We will meet at the far end of the parking lot (southeast corner).

Directions to the trailhead

From I-90, take Exit 15 and head south on Highway 900 (aka 17th Ave NW or, later, Renton-Issaquah Rd SE.)

In a bit over three miles from I-90, be alert for a blue sign with white letters on the right side of the road, which reads "Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park / Jim Whittaker Wilderness Peak Trailhead." Slow down, and just before the sign turn uphill on the asphalt road that leads into a small parking area. There is room for about a dozen cars, and no permit is required. A portable toilet is available.

This is a CHS 2 hike and will be lead at an overall pace of 2.0-2.5 mph.  This is a very popular trail and we will come across many other hikers/trail runners/people hiking with (leashed) dogs on a Saturday morning in April. We will hike on several trails and complete two different loops. Trails will include: Whittaker Wilderness Peak trail and Gombu Wilderness Cliffs Trail, Shy Bear trail, etc.

Make sure to bring your rain jacket and the rest of your 10 essentials.

To check the weather on the day of the hike:

Bring a snack/light lunch.  We will take breaks, but since this is a shorter hike, we will not take a traditional longer lunch break.   Please note we are adding quite a bit of mileage and some elevation to this WTA hike.

Fun Facts

  • Douglas firs, western red cedars, big-leaf maples, and western hemlock are the majority of trees. Oregon grape and sword ferns make up the under story.
  • The wilderness peak loop trail is almost entirely in the shade, and for this reason, it does not have any views.
  • We will hike to the highest point in King County's Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park (1598 ft) 


From the early coal mining days to the area’s more recent military history, the 30-year-old park contains and preserves a rich cultural legacy. However, Wilderness Peak is absent from this saga. Historians guess that this section of forest really was something of a wilderness at one time – when compared to the nearby coal mining operations.

Wilderness Peak is made of different rock than other portions of Cougar Mountain so there was little to lure the miners away from the rich coal seams that ran below the peak. Some portions of the park were logged in the 1920s and 1940s, while other sections were never logged at all, including the areas near the top of Wilderness Peak.


Cougar Mountain: Jim Whittaker Wilderness Peak Trailhead

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

Ten Essential Systems

  1. Navigation (map & compass)
  2. Sun protection (sunglasses & sunscreen)
  3. Insulation (extra clothing)
  4. Illumination (headlamp/flashlight)
  5. First-aid supplies
  6. Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candle)
  7. Repair kit and tools
  8. Nutrition (extra food)
  9. Hydration (extra water)
  10. Emergency shelter (tent/plastic tube tent/garbage bag)
Trip Reports