Sunday, April 15, 2012

Day 507: Cougar Mountain - Red Town Trail - Cave Hold Trail - North Falls - Coal Creek Falls

Coal Creek Falls

Day #507 * Hike #580 * New Track #514
Thursday April 5, 2012
Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park - Bellevue, Washington
Red Town Trail - Cave Hole Trail
North Falls
Coal Creek Falls
My Tripometer: 1.25 Hours * 3.25 Mile * +550 Feet

 Welcome to Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park

From Seattle, Washington take I-90 East...  This was cool for me because I grew up in Cleveland where I-90 is the main Freeway through town.  It's called the "Interbelt" and "Dead Mans Curve" in Downtown Cleveland.  It was neat turning onto the 90 from the 5 Freeway in Seattle to say that I drove on the beginning of it.  Earlier in this day we did the same thing with the 101 Freeway where it ends at the 5 outside Olympia...  The drive on I-90 was not disappointing.  You begin in downtown Seattle and head under a very long tunnel.  Then, you drive over a bridge into Bellevue.  Just 13 miles into your journey you will want to take Exit 13 and turn right on Lakemont Blvd.  (This exit is actually just one exit from our hotel in Bellevue so the random find to Cougar was Great!).  Only about 3 miles up the road you will want to turn left into the Red Town Trail Head Parking area at Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park.

 Leave the Parking Area and cross the main road

I was doing this trail alone because the wife and kids were all hiked out.  Originally we were going to stay in Aberdeen for 4 nights but we made the decision to visit Seattle.  I found a random hotel on Priceline the night before and noticed on the map that there was a green spot nearby; Cougar!  Let's go for a hike...
 Quick hike on the Coal Creek Trail

The area smelled like an old railroad or something.  It was really odd.  Then I read on a sign that this area marked the first railroad in King County.  This spot is where the route from Renton to Seattle ended.  The area was used for mining and black coal "tailings" were left behind, hence the smell I presume.

 An old Mine Shaft

 Looking out from the shaft

 Cross the bridge...

 North Falls

 Glancing over the area

Now if the wife and kids were here, this half mile in & out hike would have been about it, but have no fear I am here.  Cross the street and lets begin...

 There are many trailheads in the parking lot
go to the back of the lot, see the pic, go left

The Map

 Let's try the Red Town Trail

 Hmm, Cave Hole Trail looks cool, turn left

 Hmm, there's a dam up this trail just 0.1 miles, lets try it

 The Dam, boring, lets see where this trail goes...

 I'm in a forest...

 Another 0.1 miles to the Military Trail

I saw this trailhead from the parking lot and it didn't look too interesting so I turned around to head back down the Cave Hole Trail hoping to see some Falls...

 Life growing over a dead tree stump

The Coal Creek Falls! - Now how do I get back???

This was a muddy adventure with some elevation.  I opened up my legs a bit and got a decent work out.  Now that I know about this wilderness, next time I visit the Seattle area I will return to explore more.  Bring a Map!  This area can be confusing!!!

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