Squak Mountain (Southeast and Central Peaks) as seen from Poo Poo Point (east)
|Elevation||2,028 ft (618 m) |
|Prominence||1,680 ft (510 m) |
|Location||King County, Washington, U.S.|
|Parent range||Issaquah Alps|
Squak Mountain is the second most westerly mountain of the Issaquah Alps mountain chain in Washington state. It is situated between Cougar Mountain to the west and Tiger Mountain to the east. Interstate 90 parallels the base of the north side of the mountain. Much of the Squak Mountain watershed drains into Lake Sammamish. Most of the mountain is protected by Squak Mountain State Park and Cougar/Squak and Squak/Tiger Corridors of King County.
Squak Mountain first appears in the history of European settlement after the discovery of coal on the mountain in 1859. This helped fuel the establishment of the first commercial coal mine in Issaquah, WA in 1862 and in Renton, WA in 1863. While there is no longer coal mining on Squak Mountain, the dangers posed by abandoned mines are one reason it has been preserved from development.
Squak Mountain State Park was formed in 1972. The initial land grant of 590 acres to form the park was made by the Bullitt family. The initial grant was near the top and specified that the land remain in its natural state. These stipulations can still be seen today in the greater restrictions in park usage at the top of the mountain, on the original Bullitt family parcel. The remains of the Bullitt family home (just a foundation and fireplace) can be found in this original parcel.
Over time, the park has expanded to its current size of 1,545-acres through the acquisition of additional parcels of land.
While generally a quiet and safe park, Squak Mountain has seen mayhem over the years.
- On January 15, 1953 during a heavy storm, a Flying Tiger Line DC-4 flying to Boeing field from Burbank, California was blown off course, clipped trees near the summit and came down near a farm near the Issaquah-Hobart Road in a fiery crash that killed all on board. The fire was so intense it was four days before it burned itself out enough that rescuers could approach and recover the bodies.
- On May 4, 1991, Donna Barensten who suffered from dementia disappeared while hiking with her husband Ron in Squak Mountain State Park. Her body was found nearly one year later on April 27, 1992.
- On April 25, 2004, the body of Alena Stathopoulos, 29 was found on the Squak Mountain trail not far from SE May Valley Road by two hikers. Her roommate Esther Rose Havekost was convicted in December 2004 for murdering her in their shared apartment and for paying a man $10,000 to dump the body. She was sentenced to 27 months in prison.
- On August 7, 2011, Kenneth Blanchard, 53, an experienced paraglider, died after a rigging problem caused him to fall 40 to 50 feet to his death. He had launched from Poo Poo Point on Tiger Mountain with the intent of landing not at the TIger Mountain Flight Park  landing point, but instead in a pasture near his home in Renton, Washington. While flying over the High Valley neighborhood on the southwest side of Squak Mountain, his rigging experienced a catastrophic failure that caused him to fall to his death in a pasture.
The well-signed trail system consists mostly of abandoned roads that are narrowing to single-track trails, more so each year. One such road-trail leads to a foundation and fireplace that is the remnant of the Bullitt family summer home. Distant views are infrequent because of the forest. The major attraction of Squak Mountain is its urban wilderness.
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Squak Mountain State Park features the following trails:
- Equestrian Loop Trail
- May Valley Trail
- Phil's Creek Trail
- Summit Trail
- Perimeter Loop Trail
- Valley Connector Trail
- West Peak Trail
- Bullitt Access Trail
- Bullitt Fireplace
- Bullitt Gorge
- Central Peak Trail
- Chybinski Trail
- East Side Trail
- Old Griz Trail
- West Access Trail
- Coal Mine Trail
- Bullitt Access Trail
- East Side Trail
- Margaret's Way Trail
Residential development in Issaquah extends to the park boundary to and elevation of about 1,100 feet (340 m). The park is accessed from a trailhead (elevation 740 ft or 230 m) at the hairpin turn of Mountainside Drive in the north, and the signed state park entrance on May Valley Road in the south (elevation 350 ft or 110 m). A lesser trailhead is found on the Renton-Issaquah Road on the west (elevation 400 ft or 120 m). Other trailheads may be reached via Sycamore Drive SE and Sunrise Place SE.
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- "Complete information for Squak Mountain". Washington State Parks. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
- Pfarr, Tim (February 15, 2011). "Uncover the dark side of Issaquah". Issaquah Press. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
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- "Bones Identified As Woman Hiker Missing For A Year -- Cause Of Death Remains Unclear". Seattle Times. April 28, 1992. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
- "Death of woman found on Squak Mountain is a mystery to authorities". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. May 5, 2004. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
- Skolnik, Sam (December 1, 2004). "Woman who ran escort agency charged in roommate's death". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
- "Woman gets 27 months in slaying of friend". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. July 15, 2005. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
- "About Tiger Mountain Flight Park". Retrieved 2 October 2012.
- Kagarise, Warren (August 9, 2011). "Paraglider pilot plummets to death near Squak Mountain". Issaquah Press. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
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- Manning, Harvey & Penny. Walks & Hikes in the Foothills & Lowlands Around Puget Sound, The Mountaineers, Seattle, 1995.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Squak Mountain.|
- "Squak Mountain State Park". Washington State Parks.
- "Squak Mtn King County Rad Mast". NGS data sheet. U.S. National Geodetic Survey.
- Sykes, Karen (March 29, 2001). "Time to take a closer look at nearby Squak Mountain". Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
- McQuaide, Mike (November 4, 2004). "Issaquah's Squak Mountain is climbing in popularity". Seattle Times. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
- Sykes, Karen (December 26, 2007). "Hike Of The Week: It's easy to get away in the Issaquah Alps". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
- Mapes, Lynda V. (December 25, 2009). "Squak Mountain trail is a winter delight". Seattle Times. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
- "Squak Mountain". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
- "Squak Mountain". SummitPost.org.
- "Squak Mountain". Peakbagger.com.
- "Squak Mountain-West Peak". Peakbagger.com.
- "Squak Mountain-Southeast Peak". Peakbagger.com.
- Green Trails Maps Map of Cougar and Squak Mountains.
- Washington State Parks Map of Squak Mountain State Park.