Cougar Springs/Hole in the Rock

Cle Elum, Washington (Kittitas County)

Last Updated: 11/18/2021
5 / 5 ( 2 reviews )
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Highlight: Cougar Springs/Hole in the Rock
Cougar Springs Trail, AKA "Hole in the Rock", is the trail that most people flock to once in the Liberty trails system. Everyone wants that Iconic shot of their vehicle up on the rock overhanging the valley 600 feet below. A relatively easy trail for most vehicles, although some tight turns and squeezes keep the bigger rigs away, a narrow axle vehicle with high clearance will have no trouble navigating this trail. Use this trail as a shortcut to get to Lions Rock for a sunset, (another epic photo opportunity), or take this trail to enjoy the scenery at the top of some of the most beautiful ridges in the Eastern Cascades and the Cle Elum Ranger District


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1. Trailhead (0 mi)
The trailhead is just to the north of the infamous "Hole in the Rock" This is also a great area to camp and most vehicles can access the area without issues. The rock is a perfect spot to take a picture from the adjacent ridge, park your vehicle up on the rock for the traditional Liberty Iconic picture.

Directions to Trailhead

Starting Point: US Hwy 97 north

Two ways to find the trailhead of Cougar Springs Trail, both use generally smooth FS roads. From US Hwy 97 north, head east on Liberty Road towards the town of Liberty. At 1.4 miles FS 9712 begins, it is a slight left and quickly turns to gravel. Follow FS 9712 for 4.8 miles to a T intersection which you will turn right to stay on the FS road. Continue on this road up the hill toward the trailhead which you will find on the south side of the road almost a mile from the T intersection. FS 9718 breaks south on the outer end of a hairpin curve, follow 9718 about a mile to the trailhead and Iconic Hole in the Rock; it is well marked with the standard FS brown fiberglass marker depicting the trail number (4W334) The second route is possibly more direct, but has a lot more curves and the road is narrower; not very conducive to trailers or RVs if you plan on camping near this trailhead. Starting at US Hwy 97 head east on Liberty road, once you have passed through the town of Liberty, bear to the left, on FS 9718. The trail head is 5.7 miles from the intersection of Liberty Road and Hwy 97.



Trail Reviews (4)

Questions & Answers (1)

Q: Good afternoon - the last photo from Peter's review shows a truck barely squeezing through 2 trees. I have a raptor that is 6" wider than that truck - would I be able to complete this trail? Are they ways around that portion of the trail between those trees? Any assistance would be appreciated before I make the effort to get out to Cle Elum. Thank you.
–Trent Thompson (06/01/2019)
–Luke Myers (06/07/2019)

Writer Information

Luke Myers

Mapping Crew - Washington

Luke is originally from rural Minnesota, after high school he joined the Army and traveled the world over his 20 year career. His final stop, and where he ended his military career was Washington state. He retired from the Army in 2011 and has been working as a Military Software systems consultant since that day. He has been into the off-road scene since he was 7 years old, when his dad bought him a 3-wheeler and he built his first race-track in the pasture. Since those days he has had motorcycles, quads, go-karts, mini-bikes, trucks, 4 different kinds of Jeeps and an AMC Eagle (station wagon). His current "toy" is a 2008 Jeep Wrangler; Luke and his family enjoy exploring the world through the windshield view of that Jeep. Luke loves taking new people out on trails and takes pride in getting a newbie through a trail that is definitely more than they ever thought they could handle. His favorite type of trail is one that takes all day to go 5 miles and never stops challenging the driver.
For individual use only, not to be shared.