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Cougar 50-Details-Mini Nav

Event Details:

King County's Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park is a vast oasis of forest with plenty of trails of various widths and grades, making it an outstanding and well-loved destination for trail running. Series races use the Sky Country Trailhead, and there is a short walk Southeast from the parking area along a trail to reach the event registration, start, and finish area.


Enter the park along 166th Way SE, then turn right to turn into the parking area. Please park as directed by the staff. Here is a map (Google maps, opens in new window) of the entrance to the parking area. There is no parking fee.

Course information

There are two course options:

  • 50k (31.1 miles), with 7600 feet of elevation gain*
  • 20 Miles (actually 19.7 miles or 31.8 km), with 4000 feet of elevation gain*

* Distances were measured using a measuring wheel, and climb was measured using a detailed contour map. The distance is most likely within 1% of actual, and the climb within 10%.

Here is a route map of the 50k, also showing the locations of the aid stations. The start is at Sky Country Trailhead. The 20 Mile uses the same route, including only the portion on Cougar Mountain and turning around at aid station 2/4.

The course starts on Cougar Mountain, where the trails are generally a bit wider and better groomed. The route tours the North and Northeast parts of the park before passing the first aid station at Clay Pit Road and continuing South to Wilderness Peak and the long descent of the Wilderness Cliffs and Squak Mountain Connector trails to the second aid station. At this point, the 20 Mile runners turn around and continue along the route at Cougar Mountain, while the 50k runners cross Renton-Issaquah Road (Highway 900) and continue on the generally smaller--and in some places brushier--trails of Squak Mountain. A clockwise path takes runners a few hundred feet shy of the summit of Squak Mountain before descending to the third aid station near the South end of the State Park. From here begins a 1600 foot climb to the West Peak, followed by a 1500 foot descent back to the road crossing point, back to Cougar Mountain and the second/fourth aid station. The final third of the course climbs Wilderness Creek Trail on the 1000 foot ascent to Long View Peak, traverses to the West end of the park and the fifth and final aid station (atop the De Leo Wall Trail), makes a swing North to the Red Town Trailhead, then returns South to climb 550 feet in the heart of the park along Quarry Trail before a flat-to-rolling final mile or so to the finish.

List of major trails followed:

  1. Start in the field
  2. Clay Pit Road
  3. Klondike Swamp
  4. Lost Beagle
  5. Shangri La
  6. Surprise Creek
  7. No Name
  8. Shangri La
  9. Bear Ridge
  10. W. Tibbetts Creek
  11. Tibbetts Marsh
  12. Anti-Aircraft Ridge
  13. Cougar Pass
  14. Tibbetts Marsh
  15. Clay Pit Road
  16. Aid Station #1
  17. Mine Shaft
  18. East Fork
  19. Fred's Railroad
  20. Shy Bear
  21. Wilderness Peak
  22. Wilderness Cliffs
  23. Squak Mtn. Connector
  24. Aid Station #2 – 50k road crossing; 20 Mile turn around and see below from Aid Station #4
  25. West Access
  26. East Side
  27. Phil's Creek
  28. Squak Mountain Road
  29. Aid Station #3
  30. May Valley Loop
  31. Bullitt Gorge
  32. West Peak
  33. Chybinski Loop
  34. West Access
  35. 50k road crossing – Aid Station #4
  36. Squak Mountain Connector
  37. Wilderness Creek
  38. Long View Peak
  39. Deceiver
  40. Shy Bear
  41. Far Country
  42. Indian
  43. De Leo Wall
  44. Aid Station #5
  45. Marshall's Hill
  46. Wildside
  47. Red Town
  48. Quarry
  49. Fred's Railroad
  50. By Pass
  51. Old Man's
  52. Finish!

Aid Stations and Drop Bags

There are four well-provisioned aid/refreshment stations, one of which is visited twice and is also a bag drop. This means 50k runners will have aid five times, at distances: 5.8 mi, 9.6 mi (bag drop), 15.4 mi, 21.0 mi (bag drop again), 26.4 mi.
For the 20 Mile, aid stations will be at: 5.8mi, 9.6mi, 15.1mi.

The aid station refreshments will include water, PowerBar Ironman PERFORM electrolyte drink (has some carbs, too), boiled potatoes and salt (later aid stations), M&Ms and/or Mike & Ikes, cookies and/or fig bars, PowerBar Energy Gels, pretzels or chips, Coke and/or Mountain Dew (later aid stations), bananas and/or oranges. Thanks to The Balanced Athlete for providing PowerBar products to hydrate and fuel the runners!

If you prepare a drop bag and leave it at the drop bag drop-off point near registration by 8:00 a.m., then we will transport it for you to the Renton-Issaquah Road aid station (#2 and #4 at miles 9.6 and 21.0). Drop bags will not be returned to the finish until after the last runners clear the aid station (maybe 2:30 p.m. or later), so if you expect to be an early finisher and plan to leave soon after, you may wish to consider using recyclable containers that you don't need back.


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