I asked my neighbors if they’d like to join the boys and I on a hike on Saturday and they said yes, so suddenly I had to plan one. I picked an area I hadn’t been to in at least 10 years. 10 years can bring a lot of change, mostly for the good, though the trees have grown back up quite a bit!
Taylor Mountain is the often overlooked set of low ridges that sits on the edge of the Issaquah Alps, overshadowed by Tiger Mountain and Rattlesnake Ridge. With the changes that King County is bringing to it, more outdoor use will come though. Bonus is it is easy to get to, and the trails are lower in elevation, meaning you can hike almost year round (we topped out below 1,000 feet).
It is an even mix of logging roads and actual trail, open to hiking, bike, and horse use. We encountered only one other group of people the whole trip, a pack of horses, while we had a snack on Holder Knob.
Alistaire happily playing at the top. We had our break/snack in an open area just below the top of the ridge. A little further up was the actual knob, which is marked with a “horse picnic area” sign. Take the side trail to it, and you pop out into a clearing with horse hitches and a picnic table. I realized I had been here before, on the one hike I had done in this park. The views were a bit more then 😉 We did get a few nice views of Mt. Rainier on the way down though.
On the other hand, Walker and Alistaire found HUGE maple leaves and well, who needs more than that?
Currently you get off Hwy 18 at Issaquah Hobart Rd, take a right turn off the interchange and a few yards down, a quick left to park on the side of the road. The county is installing a massive parking lot for cars and horse trailers, with a toilet, but it won’t be done till January. The parking area on the road (also known as 276th) is the old parking area, and is very wide. Back in if you can. King County parks are free to use (bonus!) and require no parking passes.
To make an easy loop, walk to the signed road entrance of Taylor Mountain (King County parks have blue signs), enter the park, walk by the new parking lot and head up the obvious road. Road hiking can get eye rolls, but for younger children, and in colder temperatures (it was 22*!), it is a lot easier than frozen trails covered in icy leaves. We hiked up Road A to the marked junction for Holder Knob trail. This junction has two trails, take the one on the uphill, on the right. It is an old road and takes you to the top. You will pass a clearing on the left that is sunny, a tiny bit up you will see a trail to the left for the picnic area. The road becomes a real trail here. Continue on to make a loop and head downhill, eventually coming back to the road. Take a right and head (mostly) downhill back to the cars! This lollipop loop was about 3¼ miles, making it not too long for the kids.
There are other options, see the map in the link above.