...

Poo Poo Point Trail: How to Hike the High School and Chirico Trails

Last updated May 27, 2022 | Published on May 25, 2018

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.

The Poo Poo Point Trail is a great way to reach this viewpoint. It is also one of best hikes in Issaquah and the entire Seattle area.

In fact, there are two hiking trails to the top of Poo Poo Point. The Chirico Trail is a short but steep path that begins near the Seattle Paragliding School. The High School Trail begins near the Issaquah High School and is a bit longer – but an easier path for those who prefer less of an incline.

A paraglider launches from Poo Poo Point with another person strapped to him, which can be reached from the Poo Poo Point Trail

A tandem paraglider flight from Poo Poo Point

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.

This hiking guide will share the pros and cons for both hikes so you can choose which Poo Poo Point Trail is the right one for you. I’ve also included all the details you need for the hike so you can plan the perfect hiking adventure!

A trail comprised of rocky steps leads uphill into the forest

The Poo Poo Point Chirico Trail is a lovely shaded hike and includes stairs in places

Chirico vs High School Trail: Which One Should I Choose?

If you’re unsure which Poo Poo Point Trail to choose, consider these pros and cons:

Chirico Trail Pros and Cons

  • Chirico Trail is short but steep. It is a great hike if you are short on time – but difficult if you are out of shape or have a hard time with a steep incline.
  • This trail is more popular than the High School Trail so expect more crowds.
  • The Poo Poo Point Chirico Trail offers a great vista of Mt. Rainier while the High School Trail does not.
  • The Chirico Trailhead is spacious and can fit more cars (but will still fill up on a busy weekend!).

High School Trail Pros and Cons

  • High School Trail is longer and, while it does gain the same amount of elevation, it is not as steep. It’s a better option if you’re out of shape or if you like longer trails.
  • The trail tends to be less popular and crowded than Chirico.
  • This Poo Poo Point High School Trail offers easier connections to other trails on Tiger Mountain via the Tradition Plateau.
  • The High School trailhead is tiny and can only fit approx. 5 cars. A few cars can park on the side of the street.

Preparing to Hike the Poo Poo Point 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). Learn how to pee outside before hitting the trail and be sure to leave no trace of your visit behind.

Due to Poo Poo Point’s proximity to Seattle, it is an extremely popular hiking destination. So expect crowds and try to visit on the weekday if you can.

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

Near the Entrance to the Poo Poo Point Chirico Trail

Poo Poo Point Chirico Trail Hiking Guide

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.

Chirico Trail Information and Map

  • Distance: 3.8 miles there-and-back
  • Elevation Gain: 1760 feet

Chirico Trailhead and Parking/Transportation Options

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 (not available in 2022): In years past, the Trailhead Direct bus service provided transportation to trails in the Issaquah Alps. Unfortunately, this route is not running in 2022.

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

Poo Poo Point Chirico Trailhead

Poo Poo Point Chirico Trail Detailed Hiking Instructions

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.

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

Watch out for paragliders before crossing the landing field!

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.

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

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 enjoy fabulous views of Mt. Rainier to the south.

View of Mount Rainier on the Poo Poo Point Chirico Trail

Now that’s a fabulous view!

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, it’s 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

Poo Poo Point High School Trail Hiking Guide

High School Trail Information and Map

    • Distance: 6.6 miles there-and-back
    • Elevation Gain: 1794 feet

High School Trailhead and Parking/Transportation Options

The trailhead for Poo Poo Point High School Trail is located on 2nd Ave SE just south of the Issaquah High School. Look for a small gravel parking area with room for approximately 5 cars off the side of the road.

This parking area is tiny so come early as it fills up quickly. There are a few spots along the street as well, but check the street signs for time limits as cars have been known to get citations here.

No parking pass is required to park at the trailhead.

Driving Directions: from Seattle, head east on I-90 and take exit 18 onto E Sunset way. Turn left onto 2nd Ave SE and drive past the High School. The parking area will be on the left.

Taking the Bus (not available in 2022): In years past, the Trailhead Direct bus service provided transportation to trails in the Issaquah Alps. Unfortunately, this route is not running in 2022.

Entrance to the Poo Poo Point High School Trail

Poo Poo Point Chirico Trail Detailed Hiking Instructions

The Beginning of the Trail

The Trail begins by following a path through some blackberry bushes and trees. This connector trail is also called the Rainier Trail and simply skirts the south end of the Issaquah High School.

After .1 miles, follow the sign for the High School Trail and turn right. After a few hundred feet, the path connects with the High School Trail and the real hiking begins.

Trail sign for the High School Trail, courtesy of the Issaquah Alps Trail Club

A Climb Through the Forest

The trail starts off with a long but gentle incline through the forest. The entire trail is essentially in the shade so you won’t have to worry about getting sunburned on this hike.

After about a mile from the trailhead, you’ll come to a major trail junction with the Section Line Trail along with a path leading to Tradition Plateau. Bear right to continue towards Poo Poo Point. From here, the trail steepens as it continues to climb uphill.

After hiking for 2.7 miles, be on the lookout for another trail junction. You should take a sharp right here on a path which actually heads downhill for a bit. After a short while the trail joins an old logging road which eventually leads to Poo Poo Point.

Poo Poo Point High School Trail

Poo Poo Point North Landing

Half a mile after the last junction, the High School Trail reaches the Poo Poo Point North Landing.  Vault toilets, picnic tables and benches are all available here.

If you’d also like a great view of Mt. Rainier, you can extend your hike by continuing on the Chirico Trail for .3 miles to the Poo Poo Point South Landing. It’s a bit steep but the views are worth it.

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

Picnic Table Available at Poo Poo Point North Landing

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

I love Poo Poo Point!

More Information

For more information on hiking the Poo Poo Point Chirico Trail or other great hikes in Issaquah out the following links:

Like this hiking guide? Pin it!


Have you hiked to Poo Poo Point? Which trail did you take?  Share your comments below.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something. While clicking these links won’t cost you anything, they will help me to keep this site up and running!

Subscribe to A Rambling Unicorn

Sign up to receive the latest news and updates straight to your inbox.
 

Archive of Previous Posts

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

I want to hear from you! Leave your comment below:

%d bloggers like this:
Optimized by Seraphinite Accelerator
Turns on site high speed to be attractive for people and search engines.