Squak Mountain

March 17, 2022


Issaquah, WA

Squak Mountain is one of the “dumpster-dives” immediately to the east of the greater Seattle area right next to Issaquah. This peak does have a good trail system, but offers no view whatsoever. It does boast over 500 m prominence despite the lowly status. I happened to have a few hours to kill in the morning as my flight from Seattle to Denver departed at noon. I researched about the various dumpster-diving oppourtunities and settled on this easy choice. There are several trails to take and I took Selena Eon’s advice to start from the NE at the end of Sycamore Drive as this area has the least risk of break-ins. I drove south across the border in the previous evening and made to the trail-head at around 11 pm and slept in the car. The trail-head was literally in someone’s backyard with only room for 2-3 cars.

Squak Mountain and it’s SE Peak from NE Approach. GPX DL

I was scheduled to park my fuel-efficient Corolla at Skyway Inn airport parking at 10:30 am and the drive would take at least 30 minutes. To give myself enough contingency I had to start with head-lamp on as this peak did require over 500 m elevation gain. The entire trail system is correctly marked on the Gaia map so there’s very little worth documenting. A few junctions later the trail became narrower and steeper and the horizon finally became bright enough to not require head-lamp anymore. The condition was humid and wet thank to the recent rain events and in fact, the morning was 100% overcast with slight chances of showers as well. There’s a slight descent after passing the junction with the lower “SE Peak”. I eventually merged onto an old dirt road near the summit and the very top was chocked with communication facilities with absolutely no view whatsoever, even if the weather was clear.

Starting dark and early with head-lamp on
A while later I could see a glimpse of morning horizon
As typical as the trails on this mountain
Probably the only glimpse of views, eastwards towards Tiger Mountain
Merging onto the FSR near the top. I assume this road is gated lower down.
The summit of Squak Mountain is very ugly…
Me on the summit of Squak Mountain. A true dumpster-dive…

Not wasting much time I soon started the descent. I thought about to make a loop using one of the several trail options but decided to not fuss with any unknown given the time constraint. I spontaneously decided to check out the “SE summit” since there’s a viewpoint icon marked on my Gaia map, a little ways beyond that wooded summit. The result was very disappointing as the “viewpoint” was completely forested with nothing to see, so I turned around immediately and quickly dashed back to the car. I then drove to the airport parking still earning about 20 minutes of spare time.

As much as the “views” from that SE Peak viewpoint…
A well-constructed bridge cross a rather dry creek
This area is dark and wet as you can see from all the mosses around
The tiny trail-head. I basically slept here for one night in front of someone’s home