Coal Creek Trail (WA)


Register for free!

Register for free with TrailLink today!

We're a non-profit all about helping you enjoy the outdoors
  • View over 30,000 miles of trail maps
  • Share your trail photos
  • Save your own favorite trails
  • Learn about new trails near you
  • Leave reviews for trails
  • Add new and edit existing trails

Coal Creek Trail (WA) Facts

States: Washington
Counties: King
Length: 3.7 miles
Trail end points: 119th Ave. SE at I-405 (Bellevue) and Red Town trailhead at Lakemont Blvd. SE and Newcastle Golf Club Rd. (Newcastle)
Trail surfaces: Ballast, Dirt, Grass, Woodchips
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6031328
Trail activities: Walking

With Unlimited:

  • Export to My Trail Guide
  • Create Guidebook
  • Download GPX
  • Download Offline Maps
  • Print Friendly Map
Upgrade Now

Coal Creek Trail (WA) Description

The Coal Creek Trail offers trail users a wealth of coal history, fitness, and nature in a forested fish and wildlife habitat, with interpretive signs that highlight the relics to be found along the 3.7-mile soft-mulch route.

Moderate and flat terrain defines the 2.5-mile eastern segment, while continuous hills comprise the lower 1.2 miles. Boardwalks, stairs, bridges, and benches add not only safety and ease in a fairly dense forest but also artistry and impressive engineering.

From the Red Town trailhead, the trail extends into a history of coal mining beginning in the 1860s. In 1917, this multiethnic community of 1,000 people produced 360,000 tons of coal. The Seattle and Walla Walla coal trains carried their loads to the coal docks, where the coal was shipped to San Francisco. Though the rail never reached past Coal Creek, Seattle developed as a port city.

The trail begins across the street from the parking lot of Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park. Once inside the deep forest, you'll find a sealed mine shaft and a short loop exposing a coal seam. The trail crosses a bridge, where a group of log benches, rust colored from the iron salts leached from coal, faces the North Fork Falls. The route continues through thick and diversely populated forest and past a cedar flume and coal bunker foundations.

The narrow trail diverts from the railroad grade due to man-made hills of coal tailings (discarded rock). One mile in, if you take the 0.8-mile Primrose Trail, you'll pass the site of the old locomotive turntable. Switching back down (creek side), you'll cross three bridges before you loop back to the main trail. Wildflowers, snails, and butterflies; the tiny Sandstone Falls; and a pair of coal car axles are all visible along this part of the trail.

The main trail descends 500 feet, with occasional slippery and muddy sections. Neighborhood access trails can be found along the level creek-side section, along with a retention pond and a fish ladder (a structure that helps fish migrate around barriers). Under Coal Creek Parkway is a 1.1-mile lower trail with a fairly steep series of hills frequented by runners. You'll pass a spur up to a tiny lot at SE 60th Street as you reach the end at 119th Avenue SE.

Parking and Trail Access

To reach the eastern endpoint, take Interstate 90, Exit 13. Drive south on Lakemont Boulevard SE for 3.1 miles. Slow down to look for the entrance to the Red Town trailhead, located on the left side of the road at the start of a sharp curve. The Coal Creek east trailhead is located 0.4 mile beyond Red Town, on the right.

To reach the Coal Creek Trailhead from I-405, take Exit 10, and follow Coal Creek Parkway SE for 1.3 miles east. Just after the light at Forest Drive, turn left into the lot. Note: No parking exists at the western endpoint of the lower trail. This section is served by a bus.

Coal Creek Trail (WA) Reviews

On a recent trip over from Spokane, I found this epic trail. Totally what I was looking for. Was able to run through lush wooded area and only 10 minutes from concrete overload! I suggest parking at the Upper Coal Creek Trailhead. Epic

We took 2-6 year olds and 2-9 year olds and they got a little tired but not bad. Beautiful and nice wide paths.

Nice hike in a ravine between two house developments. It is in desperate need for some restoration in parts as there are super slick down hills and mud pits and what not. Bring your wellies if it's been raining! Moderately difficult with some longer up hills but nothing too crazy.


Never knew this delightful trail existed. It winds thru beautiful , verdant hills and is never far from a variety of creeks and waterfalls. Easy to connect to the Cougar Mountain trail complex on the Red Town end.

Take a moment and read the good info board about 200 yards in from the Red Town trailhead, and read up on all the coal train history. Turns out, the whole trail is covered in history that makes the hike more fun.

Trail Events

This trail does not have any events yet.
Be the first to add one!

Add an Event

Nearby Trails

I-90 Trail

Washington - 8.8 miles

Scenic and interesting are uncommon terms used to describe a trail alongside a busy freeway, but the I-90 Trail in Washington is different. The trail...

Eastside Rail Corridor Trail

Washington - 4 miles

The Eastside Rail Corridor Trail, built on a former BNSF freight railroad, will one day traverse 42 miles through King County, connecting Renton,...

East Lake Sammamish Trail

Washington - 11 miles

The East Lake Sammamish Trail is an important link in the Mountains to Sound Greenway, a 1.5 million–acre landscape stretching from Seattle to Central...


Issaquah-Preston Trail

Washington - 4.8 miles

Suburban sprawl gives way to deep forest and rural farm lots as this rail-trail follows an uphill grade from Issaquah to the outskirts of Preston. The...

Rainier Trail

Washington - 2.5 miles

The Rainier Trail brings trail users from the 11-mile East Lake Sammamish Trail south through downtown Issaquah. The paved trail provides access to a...

Cedar River Trail (WA)

Washington - 15.7 miles

The Cedar River Trail follows the old Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad corridor on a straight, flat shot out of the sprawling Seattle...

Jane Hague Way

Washington - 1 miles

Jane Hague Way, which opened in 2018, was named for a former King County councilwoman. It's part of the larger Eastside Rail Corridor, a rail-trail...

SR 520 Trail

Washington - 2.7 miles

The highly anticipated SR 520 trail is finally open, and commuters of all stripes have been quick to make use of it if the trail counts are anything...

Chief Sealth Trail

Washington - 4 miles

The Chief Sealth Trail runs north–south along Seattle's southeast side between S. Ferdinand Street at Beacon Avenue S. and S. Gazelle Street at 51st...

Green River Trail

Washington - 19.6 miles

The Green River Trail currently stretches nearly 20 miles through the industrial heart of the Green River Valley from the southern suburbs of Seattle...

Interurban Trail (South)

Washington - 18.1 miles

The Interurban Trail (South) connects several towns south of Seattle along the historic route of the Puget Sound Electric Railway. The trolley ran...

Cross Kirkland Corridor

Washington - 5.8 miles

True to its name, the Cross Kirkland Corridor traverses the city for nearly six miles, connecting eight neighborhoods, four major business districts,...

Download the TrailLink mobile app and take TrailLink with you!
Support TrailLink and the Trails You Love in 2020!
Get a FREE guidebook when you join Rails-to-Trails Conservancy!

Explore by City

Explore by City

Explore by Activity

Explore by Activity

Log in to your account to:

  • View trail paths on the map
  • Save trails to your account
  • Add trails, edit descriptions
  • Share photos
  • Add reviews

Log in with Google


Register for free!

Join TrailLink (a non-profit) to view more than 30,000 miles of trail maps and more!

Register with Google