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Harvey Manning Trailhead
Good thing I brought a Cougar Mountain trail map!The Harvey Manning Trailhead on Cougar Mountain was familiar to me. It was my destination a few weeks ago when I had hiked from Big Tree Ridge Trailhead. This time I thought I'd park at the Harvey Manning Trailhead and explore some trails up there. The Harvey Manning trailhead is at a pretty high elevation, especially compared to Big Tree Ridge Trailhead, which is the lowest trailhead in the Cougar Mountain Wildland Park. So I knew that starting at Harvey Manning trailhead meant that it was downhill in and uphill back out.
I made sure to bring my Cougar Mountain trail map again. This time I highlighted my planned trail loop on the map in yellow. Knowing that I might diverge from the trail, I at least wanted to have a game plan. Once you get burned, i.e. getting lost on Cougar Mountain, you will always come prepared. And I'm not the only one. I saw a bunch of girls looking at a map at the trailhead and overheard them talking about how they got lost last time. So if you're going to Cougar Mountain, please bring a current trail map by doing a Google search for "Cougar Mountain trail map". Then print it and take it with you on the hike, if you don't want to run out of water and energy (and daylight, for that matter).
Oops, missed my turn off!I did not deliberately deviate from my planned trail loop, but I guess I got started on the wrong track by missing my first turn off onto Tibbett's Marsh Trail. Instead I went out onto Shangri La Trail. I had to take Protector Trail to get back onto Tibbett's Marsh Trail. Protector Trail was very narrow, and looked hardly traveled. But thankfully, it was in good condition.
The little spur that I took caused my trail loop to be a little longer than planned, but still took me under 2 hours to get back to the trailhead. My actual loop is highlighted in purple. Most of it matches the planned yellow loop, with a small diversion at the beginning.
The Pergola for the Million Dollar ViewThe parking lot was pretty full, but I managed to find a decent spot at about 1:00 on a Saturday afternoon. I would say it is the most trafficked trailhead on Cougar Mountain that I've been to so far. And as of this writing, I've been to all except one.
When I first parked at the trailhead, I walked to the viewing pergola to look at the "Million Dollar View" of Lake Sammamish and Mount Baker (shown in my panoramic photo above). There are a couple of picnic tables here, and it always seems to have people hanging out there, picnicking. Probably because its so easy to drive to this summit and enjoy the view. The scenic drive to this parking lot is beautiful, as you drive up the mountain. There are some beautiful houses overlooking the "Million Dollar View".
At the viewing area, there was a sign with a little bio about Harvey Manning, whom the trailhead was named after. He was a great hiker who helped pave the road for hiking in this area. Thanks Harvey, for helping turn this missle site into a wonderful park.
Nice Trail for Energetic KidsThe trail conditions were really nice. These trails seem well-traveled by the local residents walking their dogs, as the trailhead is in the middle of housing developments. But there were still a few tourists, like myself. The trails were not too steep, as reflected in the elevation contour lines on the Cougar Mountain trail map. But I did still work up a good sweat, with the steepest parts being on Lost Beagle Trail, where you walk by the Anti-Aircraft Peak. My dog keeps me at a pretty good clip, even going uphill. She is a little over 2 years old, and has the energy of a puppy.
I saw a number of families with young kids on this hike. With the terrain being quite moderate, I think if your kid doesn't get too easily bored or tired out, this would be a great place to take them. Although, there was one narrow bridge, made out of a tree trunk, that you might want to carefully guide them across. The drop isn't too far, as it just goes over a small creek, which was dried out today.
Lush vegetation on Klondike Swamp TrailI liked this hike. Walking through the trees was very beautiful with lots of filtered light. There are lots deciduous trees there as well as evergreens. They were mostly still green and full of leaves, but in the fall and winter, they will probably allow for more light to come through on the trails, which is nice. There is a marsh and a swamp that you can walk by, and the vegetation grows really thick in those areas. It was pretty neat walking through the "tunnel" that was created by trimming the trees around the trail.
My next destination will be the John Whittaker Wilderness trailhead. And that will complete my Cougar Mountain project for the year. After that, I will most likely go back to some of these trails for weekend dog walks. And next season, I plan to explore Tiger Mountain.
Slideshow of my hike from Harvey Manning Trailhead
Wardrobe MattersToday I wore my designated hiking pants. Even though I love them, I try not to wear them other days and save them for hiking. I suppose I should get another pair. They are my Munvot workout leggings that my husband got for me online. They have large pockets on each side. So I put my Samsung Galaxy 7 Edge in one pocket and the trail map on the other.
I have to admit though, that starting out the hike at around 65 degrees, I was a little chilly. But it quickly warmed up to about 73. Still, I'm thinking I may have to find warmer pants if I'll be hiking over the fall and nice winter days. I might have to go back to those old baggy cargos and layers some fleece leggings underneath.
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