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Popular Family Hikes and Less-Crowded Alternatives Nearby

Classic hikes plus beat-the-crowd alternatives for Seattle-area families

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Published on: September 09, 2021

Popular Family Hikes and Less-Crowded Alternatives Nearby

Poo Poo Point at Tiger Mountain
Photo:
Poo Poo Point at Tiger Mountain. Andrew E. Larsen/Flickr CC

Tiger Mountain and Soaring Eagle Regional Park

Like Cougar Mountain, Tiger Mountain has too many trails to count, including many that are great for kids, with big trees and fanciful names. It’s also a very popular hiking destination, and its parking lots are often chock-full by mid-morning. Many of the folks here are headed up, though, and you and your kiddos will likely have less company on one of the many kid-friendly rambles. The two-mile Bus Trail is wheelchair-accessible, and kids will love finding the remains of the namesake old bus. Big Tree Trail and Swamp Trail are two other good tot-sized options.

Best for: All ages can find a walk to love here.

Finding it: Tiger Mountain is just outside of Issaquah. From I-90 take exit 20. Turn right at the exit, then make a quick right again. You’ll be parallel to the freeway. Pass through a gate and continue on to the main parking area at the Tradition Plateau trailhead. You will need a Discover Pass to park here. Note that the gate is closed and locked by 7 p.m.

Soaring Eagle Regional Park
Soaring Eagle Regional Park

Beat-the-crowds alternative: Soaring Eagle Regional Park

Jennifer Johnson of the local blog Hiker Mama recommends this park — located in a quiet Sammamish neighborhood — as an alternative to busy Tiger Mountain. She finds the mixed-forest surrounding almost identical to Tiger. Soaring Eagle sees neighborhood visitors, but doesn’t attract the crowds, despite its easy location. The trails in the park are also flatter — up and down as opposed to straight up — which will be easier for beginning hikers. Kids will love the mud puddles, logs to climb on, bridges and winding trails.

Best for: All ages can handle walking here. You’re likely to encounter bikers and horseback riders.

Finding it: The park is in Sammamish at 26015 East Main Dr. The main entry is on the west side via 228th Avenue Southeast and Southeast Eighth Street. Directions to alternate entrances and a trail map are available at the King County website.

Editor's note: This article was originally published a few years ago and updated most recently for 2021.

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