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“It was November--the month of crimson sunsets, parting birds,

deep, sad hymns of the sea, passionate wind-songs in the pines." - L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Coal Creek Park

Parent Category: Hiking
Created: 23 May 2016
Length: 2.8 miles
Difficulty: Easy
GPS coordinates: N 47 33.242 W 122 09.996
Elevation Gain: 350 feet
Highest Point: 1000 feet
Visitor’s Information:

Family friendly; Dogs allowed on leash

Hours: The park is open year around from 8:00AM to Dusk

Photo from Coal Creek Park

General Information:

Coal Creek Park together with Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park is considered to be one of the best places for recreation located in King County. This is the place where history and nature blends together. Acres of protected area serve as a preserve not only to wildlife and nature, but also to the historical artifacts that were left after the mining industry.

Many people, even those who are living near this site, don’t know that this is the area of the old Newcastle coal mines. The mines were open from 1863 to 1963 and even now different artifacts can be still found here. Newcastle coal mines were the main factor why Seattle grew from a small village to a major port city.

Photo from Coal Creek Park

In 1863 this coal region attracted investors from the East Coast and California and the mining operation started. Originally miners used big bags for coal and then took those bags to Lake of Washington, later the coal was put into special cars that were pulled by horses, but in 1870 the Seattle and Walla Walla Railroad Connected Newcastle with Seattle. By 1875 coal superseded lumber as the first industry in King County.

Coal industry became profitable, and miners created huge mines using explosives. These mines were ventilated by air shafts. Cars with coal were pulled out by mules and then sorted by workers. By 1929, most of the quality coal has been mined, as well as oil was becoming the prominent source of energy. One of the biggest companies the Pacific Coast Coal Company was functioning in the region from 1876 till 1929, and it should be said that 8.8. million tons of coal were produced by this company. Between 1863 and 1963, the Coal Creek and Newcastle mines produced 10.5 million tons of coal.

Photo from Coal Creek Park

Nowadays not a lot reminds about sizable mining industry in the region, Coal Creek Park as well as Cougar Mountain Regional Park is an urban oasis that is situated just in several minutes drive from the cities. Despite the fact of their closeness to civilization these incredible parks take you deep into nature and away from the bustle of the city just in a minutes’ walk.

Photo from Coal Creek Park

Coal Creek Trail is an easy hike that will tell you a lot about the history of coal mining in this region. Visitors will encounter different interesting things from the past along the way such as coal mine shaft and a railroad cart turntables. But most of the artifacts are difficult to find and see because grass has grown over them.
The trail takes its beginning from the Red Town Trailhead. Cross Lakemont Boulevard and follow the trail that will take you to the Coal Creek. Very soon you will encounter North Creek Falls, a small, but very refreshing waterfall. The best time to enjoy its beauty is after the rain.

Photo from Coal Creek Park

If you take Cave Hole Trail, you will encounter cave holes which were left by miners when they were too close to the surface. We recommend taking Coal Creek Falls Trail which is considered to be mild and to contain few ups and downs. While walking along the trail to the Coal Creek Falls, you will see madrona trees and hardwoods, colorful wildflowers such as violets and bleeding hearts.

These pictures were taken on May 5, 2016

Directions:

From I-90 East take Exit 13 and turn right at the stop sign. Continue to follow Lakemont Blvd SE and in about 3 miles away you will see the Red Town Trailhead parking lot which will be on the left. This is the Cougar Mountain parking area. The Coal Creek Trail is across the street from the parking area. There is no cross walks, so be careful while crossing the street.

From Interstate 405, take the Coal Creek Parkway exit to the city of Newcastle; turn left on Southeast 72nd Street and then another left onto Newcastle-Coal Creek Road. There will be a small parking area in about 1.8 miles from the exit.


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Photo: Roman Khomlyak

Photo Editing: Juliana Voitsikhovska

Information: Marina Petrova

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