Exploring Squak Mountain: Margaret’s Way to Debbie’s View

6 Miles
1500 feet of elevation gain

Last Wednesday dawned bright and sunny and so I decided to check out another new trail before work. This time I chose to explore Squak Mountain. Located between Cougar and Tiger Mountains, Squak Mountain is easily accessible from the I-90 corridor and only a 40-minute drive from my house.

Sign marking the entrance to Margaret’s Way Parking Lot

There are multiple trails to choose from that crisscross Squak Mountain, but I eventually settled upon Margaret’s Way. Managed by King County Parks and Recreation, Margaret’s Way is so new that it doesn’t even appear on my map. I needn’t have worried about losing my way, however, as this is easily the most well-marked trail that I have ever visited. I counted no less than 18 trail signs along the 2.7 mile-long trail.

At the trailhead
One of the 18 trail signs along Margaret’s Way

I arrived at the trailhead just prior to 7:00 am and, although I saw a half dozen cars in the parking lot, I didn’t pass another person on my way up. The trail begins with a moderately steep incline for the first mile or so until it reaches a viewpoint.

The Margaret’s Way trail

After pausing at the first viewpoint, I debated whether or not to check out the next one I encountered as the viewpoint is off trail a ways. I decided to explore it anyway and was glad I did – it boasts a bench and a lovely view that would make a great stopping point for anyone wanting a shorter hike.

Viewpoint Number 2
Crossing the trail’s one muddy patch

After the second viewpoint, the trail flattens out somewhat and meanders through the woods. I stopped frequently to admire the various wildflowers and birds along the way.


The trail gains elevation again in the last half mile or so until it joins up with the Chybinski Loop Trail. From there, many options are available for extending one’s adventure. Bullitt Fireplace is a popular destination on Squak Mountain and one that I hope to explore someday soon.

Intersection with Chybinski Loop Trail
It’s a bird!
Stinging nettles

Alas, I didn’t have time on Wednesday, and so headed right on the Perimeter Trail for .2 miles until I reached Debbie’s View. This lookout also has a bench and even better views than the previous lookout – I could see all the way to Mt. Rainier.

What a fabulous view of Mount Rainier

It was getting later than anticipated so I poured out 3 gallons of water from my training backpack and hoofed it back down the hill. I put away my camera and made the descent in only half the time as my ascent. I passed three other groups of hikers on the way to the car but otherwise I had the trail to myself.  It was such a different experience than when I hiked the Poo Poo Point Chirico Trail exactly 2 weeks ago. That trail felt like a superhighway – I passed more people in the first 5 minutes on Chirico than I encountered on Wednesday’s hike of Margaret’s Way.

What a beautiful trail.  I’m looking forward to coming back soon and exploring the rest of Squak Mountain.

Debbie’s View

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