New bridge connects Talus to Bear Ridge Trail

November 11, 2008

By Jon Savelle

The finished Talus Bridge Trail bridge spans the west fork of Tibbetts Creek at an elevation of 550 feet. Contributed   

 

 

 

The finished Talus Bridge Trail bridge spans the west fork of Tibbetts Creek at an elevation of 550 feet. Contributed

It may not be the best month for hiking, but in January, a new trail will connect Talus to the Bear Ridge Trail on Cougar Mountain.

Now under construction by volunteers from the Issaquah Alps Trails Club and city open space steward Matt Mechler, the .2-mile Talus Bridge Trail will be an easy, scenic entry to many nearby hiking routes.

“It’s going to be a nice connector,” said Scott Semans, lead trail builder for the club. “We’re aiming at a very finished look to the trail, to kind of lure people out.” 

Though short, the trail is scenic. Along its route it crosses the west fork of Tibbetts Creek — where a new footbridge gives the trail its name — and views can be had into the ravine of Erratic Creek, near the south end. 

The bridge is a handsome truss structure, made of fiberglass with wood decking and handrails. Paid for by the city and the Talus developer, it was purchased as a kit and assembled on site, Mechler said. 

“We built it last year, when we knew this trail was going to be connected,” he said.

The rest of the trail is about 85 percent finished, Semans said, with the unfinished portions at each end. It is designed for hikers only. When finished, the Talus trailhead will have a kiosk with a regional trail map set in a landscaped departure area. 

Already, some hikers have discovered the connection and used it. The Talus trailhead can be reached by driving up Talus Drive, turning left at the top and stopping at the gate for what will be the new Bridges residential development. 

“Once they build out that development, it will be a great feature for those people to have right in their backyards,” Mechler said. 

By connecting to the Bear Ridge Trail, the Talus Bridge Trail provides easy access to trails all over Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, a part of the King County parks system. It also forms an extension of the internal Talus trail network. 

Once the Bridge Trail is finished, Semans said the next objective is to improve some of the other Cougar Mountain trails. He said many were originally built as “advocacy” trails by such conservation pioneers as Harvey Manning, who used them to generate interest in public ownership of the land. But they are a bit rough.

“We are now improving them, making them more novice-hiker friendly,” Semans said.

The goal is to make them attractive to new residents and families who might want to explore their surroundings on foot. 

Reach Reporter Jon Savelle at 392-6434, ext. 234, or jsavelle@isspress.com.

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