This is an occasionally difficult route which features views at the beginning and end of the trail. While on the trail itself, you'll be under the cover of trees virtually the entire time, which can make this a great shaded run on a warm summer day.
No parking is allowed on the private streets of the Belvedere housing development, but you can park close on City streets near the trailhead in the Pinnacle development on 170th Pl SE.
Parts of the trail are fairly bumpy due to tree roots and rocks. Although I'm no longer a trail runner myself, I think this would be an acceptable route for trail running as long as you are paying attention to your footing.
On the western side, the trail starts between the edges of the Belvedere and Pinnacle housing developments, at one of the many headwaters of Coal Creek. If you go during winter or spring, you'll see a tiny trickle of water running under a small wood bridge.
After 0.1 miles, you'll intersect with with the sparsely used Radio Peak Trail
, which you'll follow south/downhill for 0.2 miles. From there, you'll turn left/northeast onto Coyote Creek Trail
for a relatively flat 0.3 miles. At the first trail intersection, you'll turn right onto Lost Beagle Trail
for 0.8 miles. During this part of the route, you'll get very close to the top of Cougar Mountain, with some short sections of the trail ranging from 15-35% grade. Because this is very near another parking lot within the park, you can expect to see a fair number of trail users, including families, on the second half of this trail, where it approaches the Shangri La Trail
When you get to the Shangri La Trail
, turn right/east for a gentle -10% grade for 0.3 mile, until you reach the intersection with the Surprise Creek Trail
, which you'll take for half a mile until you reach the Red Cedars Trail
. Take Red Cedars Trail
for 0.3 miles to Military Ridge Trail
, which you'll follow for 0.4 miles. From there, it's another 0.1 mile on the Military Ridge Trail
to the trailhead on the Talus side of the mountain, where there are bathroom facilities. Simply reverse the route to get where you started.
Lots of trees, including cedar, douglas fir, and alder.