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Coal Creek Trail

EASY 522 reviews
#1 of 4 trails in

Coal Creek Trail is a 5.1 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Renton, Washington that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 5.1 miles Elevation Gain: 567 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly

kid friendly

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

running

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

A short hike through the woods while exploring the area's coal mining history. This is an easy hike that will lead you through a historical coal mining region. While the towns are gone you will still be able to view some artifacts from the past. Along the way you will see a coal mine shaft and an information kiosk where you can learn more about its history. There are also a few railroad cart turntables but they are difficult to spot as their concrete foundations are all that is left and the forest has now grown over them. During your hike you will also catch the smell of coal and burnt cinders from time to time. Most of the trail is packed dirt but there are a few hills that can be slippery especially after it rains. This trail has recently received some attention in the form of new bridges. As of August 2010 the park service has been busy replacing many of the bridges in the park. The new structures are larger and sturdier than the ones being replaced. One bridge in particular was an adventure to cross and may have been a deterrent to some, but now all river and stream crossings are possible. If you start your journey from the Red Town parking lot, you will quickly come across an old coal mine shaft. It has been sealed but when standing next to it you can still smell the coal from below. Next to the mine is an information kiosk that will provide you with a little history of the area. It is interesting to read about the towns that were here and try to imagine what life would have been like while traversing the trail of today. On the kiosk you will see a few photos of the miners and their mining village. A little further down you will come to the North Fork Falls along with a few benches to sit and enjoy the waterfall. The falls are not large and it is best to visit them after a few days of heavy rain. From here you will walk through the forest and onto a short section of the trail composed of gravel. The trail is mostly a gentle down hill hike where you will make a few stream crossings on the newly renovated bridges. Soon you will find yourself in a clearing with many black berry bushes, watch out for the thorns as the trail is overgrown at times. Once you make your way back into the shaded forest the trail begins its steep decline. At first you will be hiking down a small ridge but it will begin getting steeper and muddier from here. For this next section you may need to take advantage of the trees and their roots to guide yourself down, especially if the trail is wet. Once at the bottom the trail will level out and you will come to the last two bridges. Once you cross the first bridge you will come to the Forest Drive trailhead. Continue straight to cross another bridge and a short distance later you will see a small retention pond along with the fish ladders at the end of the trail. At a distance of 2.8 miles, 5.6 miles out and back, this hike will provide you and your family with a great short outing along with some history. However if you are looking for a longer hike there are 2 connecting trails, Primrose Trail (.8 miles) and the Forest Drive Trail (about 4 miles out and back depending on route), which can make this a full day hike.

hiking
muddy
1 day ago

hiking
15 days ago

Loved this trail- Gorgeous early morning hike, filed with colorful trees, leaves all over, sunrise was gorgeous shining on the trail - creek & waterfall.. simply beautiful

hiking
28 days ago

This was great trial

hiking
1 month ago

easy and pretty

hiking
1 month ago

Nice chill

running
1 month ago

In good condition for being October. Not too many people for a Saturday even though the parking lot was full. Totally worth it.

recorded Coal Creek Trail

hiking
muddy
rocky
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

barely a trickle of a waterfall. same for far country falls. make sure yuu take a map or have gps access. lots of different routes to take.

running
muddy
1 month ago

hiking
muddy
over grown
rocky
1 month ago

hiking
2 months ago

The trail seems to be well maintained. Very shady, some bugs, dog friendly and the creek is great (low, but normal for this time of year). The trails are marked but tend to go in different directions. Will plan to return many times in the future.

hiking
bugs
2 months ago

Good hike! Nice sound of the creek and lots of greenery! There are so many other trails you cross to that made it a little difficult to stay on track. There were a lot of bugs out when I went but nothing too crazy. Would totally do this trail again!

hiking
2 months ago

I started trail running on this trail so it's got a special place in my heart. I love the cool forest here along with the sounds of water flowing and leaves blowing. I highly suggest this hike. you won't regret it.

hiking
2 months ago

Pretty and shaded trail. The waterfall and creek were pretty dried up. Lots if interconnecting trails for horseback riders, and the trail felt very dog friendly. I started via the Sky Country trailhead entrance and its not super straightforward from there to the coal creek trail, but it's a good option if you want to ease up on some of the steep parts that the entrance the app tells you to do. Overall well kept area.

hiking
2 months ago

I really like that this is only about 15 or 20 minutes from my house on the Eastside, so really accessible. When I need a hiking fix, but don't want to drive an hour away, I go here. Very well maintained, great for the kids as well. easy with some water to play with, some history to learn. I've been here several times, and I've never noticed any strange smells as mentioned extensively in another review.

hiking
3 months ago

This was tough for the out of shape mama (me) with some steep climbs but my hubs, 2 kids (10&13) and our two dogs loved it.

hiking
3 months ago

Saw a bear run across the trail. Beautiful casual

hiking
3 months ago

We heard about the scampering bear another person mentions, but we did not see it (and very happy for that). Great trail--nicely maintained with interesting historical markers at one end.

hiking
3 months ago

This is a well maintained and well marked trail. There are few steep parts, so I’d be inclined to rate this in between an easy and moderate trail. Lots of tasty blackberry bushes along the way. I also enjoyed reading about the history of the area.

hiking
3 months ago

Very pretty trail mostly in the forest. Start at Coal Creek Pkwy parking lot so that you are doing uphill first and coming back will be downhill. Good for kids, but Littles would have a harder time. The waterfall is very weak in July, but smelling the coal in the creek is interesting. It took us 3 hours total.

hiking
bugs
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

Easy hike. Not a lot a variation in scenery. great inner city hike.

hiking
muddy
no shade
3 months ago

We started at the cinder mine trailhead and walked along the main path to Primrose Marker 2. From there we took the primrose trail back to Primrose Marker 1 and walked the main trail back to the cinder mine trailhead. The smell is pretty bad. I guess it was the remnants of coal in the area but when we left we could still smell it strongly over all of us. It permeated our clothes and stuck to our skin. Based on this alone, I wouldn’t go back. I was pretty disappointed by how little canopy there was along most of the trail. I was hoping for a nice shady walk but I had sunglasses on for most of it. There’s also a lot of construction visible from the trail and that ruined the whole getting out in nature part for me. The trail is only wide enough for single file in a lot of places. Between the roots, rocks, and steep drops I wouldn’t recommend this for small children. The primrose section of the trail had really nice scenery compared to the main trail. It takes you along a stream at the bottom of the surrounding hills. The climb up and down to where the stream lies was somewhat treacherous. There were some muddy parts but not much. A section of dirt wall next to the trail had collapsed onto the trail in one place.

hiking
3 months ago

Trail was nicely up kept, and not too difficult. There was good access to the creek and my pup enjoyed playing in the water.

hiking
3 months ago

Awesome trail. Not super difficult, but it gets you outside and into nature for sure! The falls are nice, but maybe more impressive early spring. They’re not huge by any means, so don’t expect Niagara.

hiking
3 months ago

Love this trail system. My 10 y/o son and I went from one end to the other and enjoyed every moment of it. Easy enough for him to keep up and plenty of cool spots to rest when necessary. He is also very interested in history and this trail offers several places that describe the history of the mines in the area. He really enjoyed it.

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