Poo Poo Point Chirico Trail: Issaquah’s Best Workout

Last updated Jul 6, 2021 | Published on May 25, 2018
View of Mount Rainier on the Poo Poo Point Chirico Trail

Poo Poo Point is a beloved hiking destination for Seattle residents. Located on the west side of Tiger Mountain only 30 minutes from the city, the point features amazing views of Puget Sound and beyond. Poo Poo Point Chirico Trail is one of two paths that lead to the summit and it is by far the most popular. Short yet steep, the Chirico Trail zigzags up the mountain along a rocky path through a lush green forest.

Hikers are not the only ones who love to visit Poo Poo Point. Paragliders frequently use the area as a jumping off point before eventually landing in a field near the Chirico Trailhead. On a sunny day, hikers may be rewarded at the top not only with great views but also with paragliders soaring through the air.

Due to its proximity to Seattle, Poo Poo Point Chirico Trail is an extremely popular day hike – so expect crowds. Try to visit on a weekday if you can. For a hiking experience with fewer people, you may want to try the High School Trail. This trail starts near the Issaquah High School and leads to Poo Poo Point via a longer and less steep path.

View of Puget Sound in the distance from the Poo Poo Point on Tiger Mountain

View of the Puget Sound from Poo Poo Point

Preparing to Hike the Poo Poo Point Chirico Trail

Before setting out on this or any hike, make sure you are prepared with water, snacks, sturdy hiking shoes and any other gear you may need for the day’s weather (sun hat, rain gear, etc). Familiarize yourself with proper hiking bathroom etiquette before hitting the trail and be sure to leave no trace of your visit behind.

Here is a list of some of my favorite gear for day hiking.

  • Hiking Shoes – Sturdy hiking or walking shoes are a must. Personally, I’m a big fan of Altra Lone Peak Trail Running Shoes. I pair them with Dirty Girl Gaiters to keep rocks from getting into my shoes.
  • Socks – Good thick socks are also important. I usually wear a pair of double-walled Wrightsock Coomesh II socks with my Altras. For longer hikes, I switch to Injinji Midweight socks to prevent toe blisters.
  • Backpack – A backpack is essential so you can carry water, layers, and snacks. I love Ospreys and use the Osprey Manta pack which is technically a men’s pack (because I have a longer torso than most women). The women’s equivalent is the Osprey Mira pack.
  • Hiking Poles – Hiking poles reduce pressure on your joints and help maintain your balance if you trip. My current favorites are the LEKI Micro Vario Carbon Trekking Poles because they are super lightweight and fold down to easily fit into my suitcase.
  • Electronics – if you are using your phone for navigation, bring a portable battery such as the Anker portable battery charger.

Hiking Poo Poo Point Chirico Trail

With an elevation gain of 1760 feet in two miles, the Poo Poo Point Chirico Trail is not for the faint of heart. It is a very steep trail that is sometimes used by climbers to build endurance for mountain climbing. It is a great workout but not one that should be attempted by hikers of all skill levels.

Before beginning the hike, consider if all members of your hiking party can handle such a steep path. If not, consider taking the High School Trail instead.

The Paraglider Landing Zone

The Poo Poo Point Chirico Trail begins by crossing the paraglider landing zone. If you’re lucky, you may see paragliders soaring through the air above the zone or landing in the field. Be sure to look above you before crossing the landing zone. If any paragliders are nearby, then wait until they have landed before crossing the field.

After crossing the landing zone, the trail leads under an archway and through some blackberry bushes before entering the forest. At .2 miles, an information sign greets hikers and provides more information about the hiking trail.

Trail sign for Poo Poo Point Trailhead next to the paraglider landing field

The first trail sign for Poo Poo Point Chirico Trailhead

A paraglider lands on the field next to Poo Poo Point Chirico Trail

Watch out for paragliders before crossing the landing field!

An archway with a winged sign that reads "Chirico Trail" and "Tiger Mountain"

The trail goes under this awesome archway before entering the forest

The Workout Begins

After passing the information sign, the trail heads uphill and the workout really begins. The well-maintained trail includes lots of switchbacks, steps, and places to rest for hikers making their way to the top.

This part of the trail leads through a lush green forest filled with ferns and moss. Thankfully, there is plenty of shade to keep sweaty hikers from overheating.

Selfie of the author at the information sign at the beginning of the trail

I pause for a selfie at the information sign

A rocky hiking trail leads uphill through the forest filled with ferns and trees

The trail is well maintained but can be rocky at places

A trail comprised of rocky steps leads uphill into the forest

Steps make for a great workout!

Mt. Rainier Vista

After slogging uphill for 1.7 miles, hikers finally exit the forest and reach a clearing. Also known as Poo Poo Point South Landing, the area is sometimes used as a launchpad by paragliders.

There is a large field here along with some benches where hikers can spread out and and enjoy fabulous view of Mt. Rainier to the south.

View of Mount Rainier on the Poo Poo Point Chirico Trail

Now that’s a fabulous view!

Panorama photo from the Mt. Rainier Overlook but the mountain is almost entirely obscured by clouds

In this photo from June 2021, Mt. Rainier is almost entirely obscured by clouds. But it is there!

Poo Poo Point North Landing

After admiring the views of Mt. Rainier, turn north and take the left path into the woods to finish the hike. From here, its only .3 miles to Poo Poo Point. Thankfully, the trail isn’t as steep in this section – just a short push to the top you’ll be there!

Poo Poo Point includes a launchpad for paragliders that is covered with Astroturf. During my last visit in June 2021, the area was filled with gliders preparing to launch into the air. The paragliders were associated with Tiger Mountain Paragliding school which is located near the trailhead. The group offers tandem rides for a fee and I even got to see some tandem rides take off.

Vault toilets, picnic tables and benches are also available at Poo Poo Point.

A paraglider prepares for takeoff on Poo Poo Point

A paraglider launches from Poo Poo Point with another person strapped to him

A tandem paraglider flight from Poo Poo Point

Picnic table at Poo Poo point with view of Puget Sound in the background

A great spot for a picnic.

Selfie of the author with the view of Puget Sound in the background

I love Poo Poo Point!

Poo Poo Point Chirico Trail Information and Map

  • Distance: 3.8 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 1760 feet
  • Starting Elevation: 184 feet
  • Highest Elevation: 1820 feet

Trailhead and Parking for Poo Poo Point Chirico Trail

The trailhead for Poo Poo Point Chirico Trail is located on Issaquah-Hobart Road Southwest in between Tiger and Squak mountains about 2 miles west of Issaquah, Washington. The parking area is located next to a field where paragliders typically land after jumping off Poo Poo Point. The parking area is large but this trail is very popular and the lot often fills on weekends and other busy times. Vault toilets are available in the parking lot. No parking pass is required to park at the trailhead.

Driving Directions: from Seattle, head east on I-90 and take exit 17 for Front Street. Take a right on Front Street (which turns into Issaquah-Hobart Road Southeast) and continue east for 3 miles. The trailhead is located on the left (north) side of the road. Be sure to enter the parking lot at the first entrance as traffic is one-way in the parking area.

Taking the Bus: avoid the hassle of a full parking lot and take the bus to the trailhead! Trailhead Direct offers bus service from Sound Transit’s Mount Baker Link light rail station on Rainier Avenue South to the Poo Poo Point Chirico Trailhead. Service is available on weekends during summer months only. More information and schedules at the Trailhead Direct web site.

More Information

For more information on hiking the Poo Poo Point Chirico Trail or other nearby trails check out the following links:


Have you hiked the Poo Poo Point Chirico Trail? I’d love to hear from you! Share your comments below.

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Hi, I'm Unicorn!

I am an avid hiker, traveler, and adventurer who is on the mission to explore hiking trails around the world.  I’m also obsessed with National Parks, long-distance trails and other outdoorsy things.

I hope to share this knowledge with you and inspire you to explore new hiking trails too!

2 Comments

  1. mizipatty

    ok, what backpacking trip are you training for???!!!

    Reply
    • Unicorn

      I’m going to hike the Snoqualmie Pass to Steven’s Pass section of the PCT in July 😊. I don’t have many vacation days so I’m going to have to hoof it!

      Reply

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