photos · Trip Reports

Coal Mining Relics at Red Town

The great thing about having kids far apart in age is you can introduce them to hikes you did with their older brother many years ago. Being a holiday on Monday, I got all 3 boys up and headed to the Red Town trailhead, on Cougar Mountain, in the Issaquah Alps. The hiking is easy, well maintained and has a ton of coal mining relics to entertain most any child.


We ended up crossing the bridge at least 4 times, but it is perfect for small children to toss leaves off. With the winter rains, the creeks are all running. Though not water you’d want to drink, especially near the old pits.


Let’s just say it is always hard to pass up a chance like this 😉 The Teen maybe wasn’t as amused as I was.


Last year’s harsh drought really dried up the moss and ferns. Seeing whole trees covered in ferns made me smile.


And so much green in the moss once again. This winter has been good to it.


Take some narrow gauge coal mining relics and two little boys, who were all over the stuff. Who needs an indoor museum when you have this?


By the time we got done walking it was 52° out. Felt like Spring for a few hours.


After bouncing around on side trails, we headed up a bit and crossed onto the Red Town Trailhead and took it to the stream. I wanted to show the boys the old ball field.


We had a snack there, with the creek behind us. The old ball field was where the miners played baseball and has been a slowly restored meadow since at least 1996 (so even older than Ford!). Take the time to read the interpretive plaques, they hold a lot of history and seeing faces and names of trail pioneers of the PNW who have now passed on.

Hooked back on the Wildside Trail, via Marshall’s Hill Trail. The final junction isn’t marked, but it takes you back. You just gotta believe is all.

It’s total urban hiking, it’s close to Seattle. You can even pick up Starbucks a few miles from the trailhead. You have full digital phone service. You might be sharing the trail with a hundred other people (easily) in the lower sections. But you have an entire mountain to cross and criss-cross over, little valleys, creeks and waterfalls. There is plenty of space to disappear into and feel like you are in the middle of nowhere.

And bonus? King County usually has free maps at the trailheads.

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