Fir Hill Trail
ElevationAscent: 102' 31 m
Descent: -55' -17 m
High: 392' 120 m
Low: 333' 101 m
GradeAvg Grade: 6% (3°)
Max Grade: 15% (9°)
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“With diverging singletracks and a few climbs, Fir Hill bumps up Island Forest's difficulty a notch.”— Brendan Ross
The beginning of Fir Hill is easy to miss if coming from the 188th Trailhead, as it requires backtracking on the main route after bypassing the marsh crossing. No sign marks the intersection, but the wide singletrack is easy to spot heading off into the trees to the south, splitting around a large tree in the middle of the path. Similar to 188th in composition, Fir Hill adds more roots to the mix, so step carefully.
Mixing old and new growth, Fir Hill wanders between towering firs and short saplings. A few fallen trees have been cut or pushed back from the trail. Not long after the start, it begins a series of moderately-graded ups and downs. All are fairly short, so they're not particularly difficult, but it's a welcome change from the flat nature of most of Vashon's byways. As it goes, Fir Hill winds back and forth a great deal.
A turnoff for the Valley of the Firs shortcut is about a quarter mile in. After this point, two or three singletracks branch off from Fir Hill. All lead back into the main route, so take any path. The sun spills through the trees as the trail makes one more climb and turns west.
From here on out, it's a flat and mostly straight trip. Fir Hill ends at the Cemetery Trailhead. Cemetery Run, directly across the parking area, is an easy dirt singletrack connecting to a few diversionary loops. Alternatively, hikers can turn right and continue on Grinder, a former dirt road connecting to several other paths.
Animal life includes smaller woodland creatures and deer, but the biggest draw to Island Forest is the wide variety of birds, more than eighty species in all. The wetland areas around Mukai and Meadowlake Ponds draw bird watchers from around the region.
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Land Manager: King County, WA - Parks and Recreation