Built-in Adventures: Cougar Mountain’s Big Tree Ridge Trail

In search of a new pair of trail running shoes to take me through my training and ultimately another half marathon completion, Bergen and I found ourselves about 30 miles east of our Seattle home recently.

Sure we have glorious mountain views here in the city of both the Cascades and the Olympics with Mount Rainier and Mount Baker popping out on particularly clear days, but when you venture further out you can find yourself with mountains practically falling on top of you.

And that was the case the other day.  In Issaquah, Washington, where we were shopping, the surrounding mountains are unofficially called the Issaquah Alps with some of the more well know hills being Cougar, Squak, and Tiger mountains.

Walking over to our lunch spot on a fabulously clear day, Bergen (2.5 years old) looked up at the sky and all around, and asked, “Hike…?”

Built-in Adventures: Cougar Mountain's Big Tree Ridge Trail

Who could say no to that? So I assured him that, yes indeed after lunch we would find a trail to explore. So maybe I did have plans of jetting back home after eating so that he could go down for a nap, but now my heart was too busy exploding from pride in fact that my little guy has the same desire to be surrounded by towering trees in a big open world full of possibilities.

Those possibilities being as simple as how many sticks you can carry in one hand, and how many rocks you can you stuff into the pockets of your coat.

Not even having to consult a map or internet search, after a short drive of just a mile or two we found ourselves at Cougar Mountain’s Big Tree Ridge trailhead.  As I studied the signs, I learned that we’d get to another trail after hiking about a mile (Military Ridge), and another trail that we’d hiked before after just over 2 miles (Anti-Aircraft Peak).

Built-in Adventures: Cougar Mountain's Big Tree Ridge Trail

If you’ve spent any amount of time with a toddler, you probably know that time just doesn’t move the same way as it does without them.

Bergen trudged along making what I thought was great progress, and that was with continuous the stops for rock tossing, stick collecting, and tree investigating.  He even received compliments from fellow hikers (there were just 2 or 3) for his ability and stamina.

So when we reached the first trail marker sign of our journey, I thought for sure we’d hiked the 2 miles to the further trailhead (and just missed an earlier sign).

Built-in Adventures: Cougar Mountain's Big Tree Ridge Trail

No.  We didn’t miss anything.  We’d hiked just .9 miles and made it to Military Ridge. Maybe it wasn’t as much as I made it to be in my mind, but I’ll take it.

Never complaining or whining, only joyfully soaking up all the nature he encountered, I was reminded that mileage really isn’t so important. And with that, I strapped him onto my back and appreciated the quick scramble back down.

Built-in Adventures: Cougar Mountain's Big Tree Ridge Trail | WildTalesof.com

One of my tips for hiking with a toddler? Slow down, enjoy the journey & put goals aside for now. Please share your tips!

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Built-in Adventures: Cougar Mountain's Big Tree Ridge Trail | WildTalesof.com


4 thoughts on “Built-in Adventures: Cougar Mountain’s Big Tree Ridge Trail

    • Thank you, Joy! I also love that Bergen (and I’m sure other little ones) show me things I wouldn’t have noticed if I was just racing along not paying much attention.

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