Coal Creek Trail

Lower Washout Way, Washington

Distance4.7mi
Elevation Gain1,294ft
Trailhead Elevation185ft
Top639ft
Elevation Min/Max177/639ft
Elevation Start/End185/185ft

Coal Creek Trail

Coal Creek Trail is a hiking trail in King County, Washington. It is within Lower Washout Way, Coal Creek Park, and Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park. It is 4.7 miles long and begins at 185 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 5.4 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,294 feet. The Coal Creek Trailhead Parking Lot parking and Red Town Trailhead and other parkings are near the trailhead. Along the trail there is a mine entrance.

Coal Creek Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"It might be hard to believe, but this modest park helped build Seattle. Supplying coal to a rapidly expanding population across the lake, the Newcastle mine that used to operate here fueled the region’s explosive growth at the end of the 19th century.

Today, the park still serves the city, but as a refuge from the urban sprawl it once spawned, with a trail through a narrow creek ravine leading to two waterfalls and several excellent historical sites."

"This trek along the Coal Creek Park Trail takes you through a bit of coal-mining history on your way to spectacular Cougar Mountain Park. It offers woodsy tranquility and a great work-out close to town. Surface: Dirt and ballast. Location: Cougar Mountain, Bellevue, King County."

"Water, water everywhere and quite a drop it takes! Cougar Mountain’s Coal Creek Falls is the primary attraction here, but it’s the water underfoot that really makes the area special. Such abundance helps keep the forest green and fragrant, with wildflowers in season— and abundant summer mosquitoes.

Come in November through May, when the nights are too cold for these pesky biters and the falls are full of runoff. In the spring you’ll find skunk cabbage, and through the early summer you’ll enjoy plump, juicy salmonberries. And at the end, you’ll enjoy the cool cascade of Coal Creek Falls."

"Begin at the Coal Creek Parkway SE trailhead. After a short section on a wide, crushed gravel path, the treadway changes to a wide, hard-packed dirt trail, before narrowing further to singletrack trail. The majority of the trail is heavily forested and is flanked by Coal Creek, which is within earshot almost the entire route. Enjoy two waterfalls, cross several footbridges, ascend wooden steps, traverse switchbacks, return to some sections of crushed gravel, and reach the turnaround point at Red Town Trailhead after 2.5 miles.

On the return trip, you can take two deviations on side trails to experience other trails in the park. The first is the Interpretive Loop, on the left just 0.1 mile after the turnaround. This short loop crosses a footbridge and returns to the Coal Creek Trail in under 0.2 mile."

"This trek through the 454-acre Coal Creek Natural Area takes you northwesterly through a bit of coal-mining history on your way to spectacular Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park. It offers woodsy tranquility and a great workout close to town."

Coal Creek Trail Reviews

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7/6/2014
Pros: Well maintained shaded trail that's not too steep. Con: The exit / entrance off Coal Creek parkway it blocked with construction. The creek is pretty dry this time of year. We spotted a mama black bear and her two cubs near the YMCA trail.
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9/30/2012
Nice little trail if you are close by but not worth driving to.
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12/1/2011
This is a great urban trail. Well-maintained but not over-built, with plenty of cool features to look at. It's a pretty easy hike up the hill but definitely not boring. It's a treat to have walks like this right inside the Somerset neighborhood.
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4/4/2010
Nice and easy trail. The waterfall itself is small, but still looked nice.
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4/4/2009
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4/13/2008
This is a great hike considering the distance to the city and that it is available virtually all of the year. We made our first hike of the season here and it was enough to get a nice glimpse of nature as well as get the blood pumping for the first time. It is definitely worth it to do the side trip to the waterfalls. Even though the trail said it is closed it was no problem at all and there were no issues with the trail conditions.
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4/12/2008
If you need a quick trip from Seattle into some quiet woods, this is a great place to go. There are a variety of trails ranging from a flat gravel road to a few meandering ups & downs. I was surprised at how quiet the area was eventhough we were still in Bellevue. ple there are. I was also surprised at how confusing the trails were. They are well-marked at junctions. However, there are so many that it's easy to get confused. Make sure you pick up a map at the kiosk and take it with you.
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1/15/2005
This is not a flat "rail-trail" but the trail does follow an historic rail route up Coal Creek. You will be shocked by the mining operations that were here in the late 1800's and early 1900's as seen on a board near the mine pit along the trail. Some falls along the route and evidence of the past mining. Great hiking trail.
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Coal Creek Trail Photos

Trail Information

Lower Washout Way
Nearby City
Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park
Parks
Dog-friendly, Kid-friendly
Accessibility
Moderate
Skill Level
Horseback Riding
Additional Use
Views, Waterfalls, Wildflowers
Features
Green Trails Cougar Mountain No. 203S
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Oct 2018