Hike of the Week: Coal Creek Falls from Red Town trailhead

Hike description: This is a beautiful forested trail through an old mining region dating from the 1920s. With 36 miles of trails in the Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, you'll come across a lot of trail junctions. Planning your trip in advance and remembering to stow your map (and compass) in an easily accessible pocket will stand you in good stead on this trip.

From the parking lot, take Military Road Trail (N2) for 0.2 miles. At the junction, take Trail C2 for another 0.2 miles past the Red Town Dam Site to the Cave Hole Trail (C3). Take trail C3 for 0.4 miles to the Coal Creek Falls Trail (C4). In half a mile, trail C4 ends at trail C6, the Quarry Trail. Turn right onto the Quarry Trail and follow it 0.3 miles to a short junction trail to the right which connects with trail W2, the Red Town Trail. Turn right and follow the Red Town Trail back to the parking lot.

This easy hike gets two thumbs up for people; four paws up for doggies (on a leash, of course). The Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park is an incredible natural system in the King County Park System. The park, covering more than 3,000 acres, is bordered by the cities of Bellevue, Newcastle and Issaquah.

When you come across old mine openings, resist the temptation to explore. These relics are not safe areas to investigate.

Directions: From Interstate 90, take Exit 13 and drive south up the hill on Lakemont Boulevard Southeast for 3.1 miles. Look for the entrance to the Red Town Trailhead on the left side of the road. From Interstate 405, take Exit 10 and follow Coal Creek Parkway Southeast 2.4 miles to the shopping center. Turn left at the light onto Southeast 72nd Place and then left again at Newcastle-Coal Creek Road. Follow Newcastle-Coal Creek Road for 1.9 miles. Look for the Red Town Trailhead on the right side of the road just after the big bend.

Difficult rating: 1 (1 is easiest, 5 is most difficult)

Miles round-trip: 2.4

Elevation: 480 feet

Best time of year: Year-round

Map: Green Trails 203S Cougar Mountain/Squak Mountain.

Pass: None needed

Also: Red Town Trailhead has a graveled parking area that provides access to the trails around the historic Red Town mining area and to the park’s central trail system. Toilets are located at the trailhead. Please remember to be a good steward and pack out all your trash and any bits and pieces that others left behind. A map can be downloaded from the Parks and Recreation Web site at: your.kingcounty.gov/ftp/gis/Web/VMC/recreation/CM-bw_2009.pdf. Information and this and other trails in the area can be found in the guidebook “Day Hiking Snoqualmie Region,” Mountaineers Books.

Information: www.kingcounty.gov/recreation/parks/trails/backcountry/cougar_trails.aspx

Hike of the Week is presented by The Mountaineers Tacoma Branch Hiking/Backpacking Committee. For other hikes, visit www.thenewstribune.com/hiking.