Longview Peak and Far Country Lookout Loop

My daughter, who’s home for her last spring break ever, wanted to go on a hike before heading back to school. I’d scoped out a lot of interesting hikes, but several were in weather-affected areas, because I forget 50s here does not equate to “melted snow” east of the pass. We ultimately settled on something closer to home: Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park.

Cougar has well-maintained trails and a selection of waterfalls, marshes, and mining artifacts. It’s a really nice area that I forget because it’s so close. For today’s hike, we’d do a 6.5 mile loop from the Sky Country trailhead, covering several lookouts and the waterfalls.

I’d forgotten how crowded parking gets on a weekend with mild weather. When we rolled in at 8:45, cars were already overflowing onto the shoulder of the entrance road. We would thus end up with some “bonus mileage” for the day, a very minor inconvenience.

By luck of the draw, we ended up closest to the Nike-Horse trail that would take us on a counter-clockwise loop down, where we’d see Far Country Falls, which is pretty any time of the year.

Below is a scene from a visit in December 2009:

Total hike, with stops, was just over four hours. Compared to last week’s pacing hike, this was more enjoyable. I also picked up four geocaches. Only 95 more to achieve the Cougar Mountain Blackout that my good geofriends completed ten years ago!