Tradition Lake trail offers scenic hike

August 17, 2010

By Christopher Huber

A well-maintained, wheelchair-accessible trail extends a half-mile through the woods on the Around the Lake Trail on the Tradition Plateau. By Christopher Huber

Henry David Thoreau had the right idea about experiencing nature: You need to clear your mind before taking a walk in the woods, so you can appreciate its peacefulness.

And it’s true, before going for a hike, climb, walk or a jog in the woods, it’s important to file away all of the worries of the world. Even if it’s for just the hour or so it takes to walk around Issaquah’s Tradition Lake.

“I am alarmed when it happens that I have walked into the woods bodily, without getting there in spirit,” Thoreau says in “Walking.” “What business have I in the woods, if I am thinking of something out of the woods?”

The city of Issaquah thought so highly of the quote that it put it on one of the educational placards installed along the Around the Lake Trail in the Tradition Plateau/West Tiger Mountain Natural Resources Conservation Area.The trail is one of dozens that make up about 80 miles of trails in the Tiger Mountain State Forest. But, if you’ve got too much on your mind, you won’t appreciate the lush, vibrant-green vegetation that carpets the forest floor from which the straight and tall cedar, dogwood and fir trees grow.

You have your choice of easy to difficult trails once you park at the main trailhead, just off exit 20 off of Interstate 90, but if you want to take the whole family (including infants with strollers) or to relax on your lunch break, take the Around the Lake Trail.

It begins to the right of the main entrance/information hut — ample signage makes the trail system easy to navigate — and follows a well-maintained, wheelchair-accessible trail for about a half-mile.

Along the first portion of the flat, gravelly trail, breathe in the fresh forest air as you read about surrounding flora and fauna on the interpretive boards installed in various locations. This trail is within Issaquah city limits, and the city has provided a lot of benches and observation decks throughout.

If you’re interested in the self-guided tour, be sure to grab a pamphlet at the trailhead.

At a moderate pace, it doesn’t take long to reach Tradition Lake. Check out the peek-a-boo views as you walk along the southern edge.

At the southwest corner of the lake, the wheelchair-accessible trail stays to the left to loop back around or continue on to other trails. You have to stay right to continue around the lake. On the western end, bypass the viewing deck and walk to the shore — you might hear a grunting beaver. From there, the trail is riddled with criss-crossing tree-root systems that make it a little tougher for strollers to traverse.

From the observation deck, follow the Around the Lake Trail until you intersect the gravel Puget Powerline Road and enjoy the rest of the walk back to the car.

This hike is a great place to take it easy, take your mind off of work or school and simply enjoy the natural beauty surrounding the Issaquah area.

Christopher Huber: 392-6434, ext. 242, or Comment at

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