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Coal Creek Trail

North Fork Falls

Today, we explored the Coal Creek Natural Area, which is in the Cougar Mountain area. The Coal Creek Trail is an interesting hiking trail around the remains of the old coal mine of the Pacific Coast Coal Company from the 1800's. There are interpretive signs along the trail that describe some history of the coal mine. In its time, the business created lots of jobs and a good sized little town of about 3000. It was pretty cool to see and read about the coal mining industry and the history of the place. And it was a beautiful forested trail with quaint bridges, a waterfall, mossy trees, ferns, and blackberries.

Location:7501 Lakemont Blvd SE, Bellevue, WA 98006
Across the street from Red Town Trailhead parking lot


The tour

Coal Creek Trail trailhead sign This is the sign at the trailhead. Our goal was to go to the North Fork Falls and then head over to the Coal Creek Trailhead.

Coal Mine Air Shaft "Look, a cave!", she says. It did look like one, but it was actually an old air shaft that supplied oxygen to the miners underground.

Bridge Over Coal Creek Looking over the bridge, the creek had run dry, since it is the middle of summer. Perhaps in the fall, we would see some water flowing.

North Fork Falls Trickles We didn't walk too far to get to the North Fork Falls. But there wasn't much of a falls there. Just a little trickle. The rock was stained orange, though, from iron oxide in the water. We might check back here in the fall (rainy season here) to see if there is a larger falls.

My daughter handled the dog during most of the hike. Thanks to the slip lead that allows better control of the dog, she easily hiked with the dog without being pulled up and down the trail.

Remains of Flume We saw some cedar boards built together sitting on the creek. They were the remains of the old box-shaped flume that the miners built to keep water out of the tunnels and allowed train cars to rumble over the creek to transport freshly mined coal to Seattle.

Bridge and Stairs over the creek ravine This was a very nicely built bridge and stairs that went over the ravine where the creek ran through. Lots of people were taking pictures here.

Blackberries off the Coal Creek Trail We came to a Y in the trail. There was a sign directing you to Coal Creek Parkway, but I guess we read it wrong. We went left, taking the high road, when we should have gone right, taking the low road. The high road quickly took us to a main road, but we were rewarded for our efforts by finding a blackberry jackpot. My daughter ate until her belly hurt. Then we headed back down.

Camel Back Water Carrier We decided to head back to the car at this point. But I was glad to have brought my Camel Back water backpack on the hike. It gave me easy access to water for me and the pooch. My daughter doesn't have one of her own yet, so she just had to keep reaching for her water bottle in her backpack and putting it back each time. Maybe if she decides she wants to continue hiking with me, she will get her own Camel Back!

I would like to try this hike out again sometime, in the fall, when there is more water flowing in the creek and the waterfall. And this time, I'll remember to take the low road to Coal Creek Parkway. I definitely recommend this hike to you, if you are in the area, are interested in local history, or like relatively easy hikes. It is a very relaxing walk that is close to civilization but really forested and beautiful.

Photos taken 8/26/2017

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