Coal Creek, on its way from the swamps and marshes on Anti Aircraft Peak, takes a pretty tumble over a moss covered wall. This is one of the more popular destinations in Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, itself a popular urban destination thanks to its prominent location near downtown Bellevue. The hike is suitable for young children as well as older folks who may not have an opportunity to get out much. Those of you who value your shoes be wary; this trail is almost always muddy in the winter and spring after any kind of precipitation. This high up the Coal Creek drainage, there is a serious lack of water during the summer months, so the falls run dry from about mid June to whenever it starts raining consistently during the following winter.
- Coal Creek Falls is the Official name of this waterfall.
The falls are fairly straightforward to photograph. From below, it's moderately scenic, but not really pro-quality. Because of the rounded shape of the cliff, there is a bit of an issue of foreshortening - even though the falls are only 28 feet tall. For the nimble-footed, climbing up next to the left side of the falls yields slightly more revealing perspectives, however to frame the entire falls, you need a focal range wider than 24mm and to joust with a few tree branches which encroach on the view. Sunlight absolutely kills at this waterfall, so save this one for an overcast day.
Located in Cougar Mountain Regional Wildlife Park in Newcastle. Easiest way to reach the trailhead is as follows. From 405, head east on I-90, exit at Lakemont Boulevard (Exit 13) and turn right towards Newcastle. Proceed 3 miles on Lakemont to the Red Town Trailhead parking area on the left side of the road, just before crossing Coal Creek. At the trailhead, head left (uphill) on the Red Town trail for about 500 feet, then head left again on the Cave Holes trail. After about 1/2 mile, head right on the Coal Creek Falls trail and follow for another 1/2 mile to the falls. Be sure to take a free map of the trail system at the trailhead.