Trade the claustrophobia of the city for the lushly forested Coal Creek trail that runs through the historic hills of Newcastle. Along your walk you can discover haunting artifacts of the miners who once worked these lands.

Start out at the Coal Creek Trailhead right off of the Coal Creek Parkway. Follow the wide gravel path away from the highway as you plunge into the trees, travelling parallel to the trickling Coal Creek. Soon the sounds of the city are absorbed by the mossy maples, sword ferns, devils club, and salmonberry that surround the trail. Follow the trail as it twists and turns through the canyon and crosses Coal Creek along a wide wooden bridge, climbing up the hillside.

The trail continues to wind along the lush canyon wall, crossing several smaller creeks. When the trail forks a little after 1 mile from the trailhead, take a left to enter an overgrown grass clearing speckled with apple trees. After crossing the clearing the trail plunges into the forest again, following an old railroad grade through a thicket of big leaf maples. As you enter a second clearing, the trail turns into a wide gravel road. Take a right to follow the road for roughly .25 miles down and up a slight crest, where you will find a sign for the Coal Creek Trail on your left.

After a set of slimy, tangled stairs you will find yourself on a wide trail continuing, once again, along the old railroad grade. Look to your right as you walk: the old concrete foundation of a locomotive turntable site is just off the trail. After a little more than .25 miles you will find the stunning North Fork Falls on your left, soon followed by the grey remnants of an old dam and the shadowy entrance to a filled-in mine shaft. Continue along the trail and after a slight climb you’ll find yourself in the middle of a grassy clearing containing the deteriorated foundation of the old Hotel. Cougar Mountain’s Red Town Trailhead and parking lot are located directly across Newcastle Golf Club Road.

Length: 1.25 Miles one way
Variety: Out and back
Elevation Gain: 300 Feet
Difficulty: Easy
Season: Spring and summer
Trail open to: Hikers
Passes Permits: None
Facilities at Trail head: Privy
Maps: USGS Bellevue South or Green Trails Cougar Mountain No. 203S

 

Directions:

From I-405 take the Coal Creek exit and turn onto Coal Creek Parkway heading east. The gravel parking lot and trailhead is about 3 miles down on the left side of the road, before you reach Newcastle.

 

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