Lower Coal Creek Trail is a 4.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Bellevue, Washington that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
Nature hike with multiple Coal Creek crossings. This trail is an excellent finish to the four trails of Coal Creek Park. This trail offers the best views of Coal Creek and offers more of a challenge. The hills are not terribly steep but there are many and opportunity to rest is few. Starting out from the parking lot on SE 60th you will descend into the forest on a set of wooden stairs. The trail will continue downhill for a bit making for an easy trip down to Coal Creek. On your way down you will come across a few switchbacks that will help ease this down hill portion. Shortly, you will come to an opening in the forest, as you pass through you will hear the hum of the power lines above. Moving back into the forest you will be close to reaching Coal Creek. There are a few downed trees on this section of the trail, careful when jumping over as the trail begins to get muddy. You should now begin to hear the sound of Coal Creek. You will catch a quick glimpse of the creek as you come to a fork in the trail. Taking the fork to the right is a large bridge that crosses over the creek. I think this is one of the best spots to photograph the creek. If you have hiked the other trails in the park you can agree that this is the largest portion of Coal Creek yet. Continue up the trail and it will lead you out onto Coal Creek Parkway. It is a busy road that will lead you to no other trails. I suggest forgoing the rest of the trail and returning to the fork from hence you came. Moving North on the trail you will see a sign explaining that improvements are being made to the trail ahead. The trail will narrow and is less maintained, if it is wet out and you do not have a pair of shoes with good grip, I would suggest turning back now. At first the trail is muddier and along the way you will come across several bridges. Most of the bridges are at some stage of repair or replacement; see my photos to check out the bridge conditions and warnings. One short bridge in particular is about ready to collapse, lucky it is easy to walk around if careful. Nearing the end of the trail you will again reach a few switchbacks, this area is extremely slick. It appears to be compacted clay and even walking very slowly I noticed I was sliding down the hill. If you have made it this far you are almost at the end. Crossing another newly constructed bridge, you will come to another fork in the trail. Follow the signs, just .2 miles to the end where you will be rewarded with a great view of Coal Creek. Here you will see the two sections of the creek join into a small pond that disappears into a concrete storm drain. This trail is just over 4 miles out and back. I think it provides the best views of Coal Creek and will be the best hike in Coal Creek Park when all improvements have been completed.