Newcastle-Cougar Trails & Projects
The Newcastle-Cougar Trail Map shows major trails in and around Newcastle and
Cougar Mountain, and identifies current and potential projects along those trails.
1. Regional Trails. The Eastrail (red) is a regional multi-use trail (paved, for hiking
and biking) in the Eastside Rail Corridor, with a recently opened section from Newcastle
Beach Park (just south of A) running south to Renton's Gene Coulon Memorial Beach
Park. The Mountains-to-Sound Greenway is a 100-mile long corridor along I-90, from
the Seattle Waterfront to Ellensburg, with a network of hiking and biking trails, including
the trail route shown in dark green on the map. The route includes Bellevue's Coal
Creek Trail (yellow), running from the I-405 interchange (A) to Cougar Mountain Park
at the Red Town Trailhead (C). The trail route from A to C and beyond is a series of
wooded hiking trails, soft-surfaced, some with steps and footbridges.
At A, access to Coal Creek Trail can be improved by: (1) building a short trail from
the Eastrail down to 118th Ave SE, giving walkers from Bellevue a short sidewalk route
under I-405 to the current trailhead; (2) moving the trailhead to Newcastle Beach Park
(parking, restrooms) by extending the Coal Creek Trail under I-405 on existing pathways,
then south on the Lake Washington Bike Trail to the Eastrail, and into the park.
2. Cougar Mountain Park. Citizens have launched three campaigns to preserve green
areas adjacent to Cougar Mountain Park, all supported by Newcastle Trails (NT) and the
Issaquah Alps Trails Club (IATC). Save Cougar Mountain has succeeded: the Bergsma
property (near TCI) will be saved from development. Save Coal Creek asks Bellevue to
save the historic Milt Swanson property (C) to preserve a green wildlife corridor around
the Coal Creek Trail at the Red Town Trailhead. And Save DeLeo Wall has delayed the
planned logging of a forest parcel (D) in Newcastle while purchase efforts go forward.
The approach: cities take the lead, with funding from state and county grants. The IATC
is NT's big sister: check their website, consider joining – and support campaigns C & D.
3. Newcastle Trails. The NT trail map (see NT website) shows all of Newcastle's trails;
the Newcastle-Cougar map shows just a few. Newcastle's main west-to-east trails are
the CrossTown Trail (yellow) running SE from Newport Hills past Lake Boren into
Cougar Mountain Park and the May Creek Trail (yellow) running east from Lake
Washington in Renton to Coal Creek Parkway. The May Creek Greenway includes the
May Creek Trail and parts of other trails. These are nature trails, mostly in parkland or
wooded open space. Other trails shown include a west-to-east route (black) on the 80th
Street Trail (mostly sidewalk) and the Sylvan Trail (in a wooded valley). The entire
80th Street Trail is usable (on public land), but the extension into Renton is not an official
trail. Completing the Sylvan Trail requires an easement from a homeowners association.
Three north-to-south routes end at the May Creek Trail. Along with the Windtree Steps
(near F), these routes provide the main entrances to May Creek Park. The Horse Trail
(brown) enters the park at E. The Waterline Trail (blue) and the sidewalks of Coal
Creek Parkway both run south from the Coal Creek Trail near the Red Cedar Trailhead.
At E, the entrance to May Creek Park at Bartrum Station, the Horse Trail will be
joined to the May Creek Trail by walkways and a crosswalk on May Creek Park Drive
south of the hairpin curve. This will be done in concert with a planned development,
providing safe park access to the new residents and nearby neighborhoods. The trail will
then be usable from end to end; but two easements (and a route adjustment) are needed to
make it an official Newcastle trail. And The Vineyard and Olympus need a safe link to E.
Coal Creek Parkway provides a sidewalk route past Newcastle Commons (NC) to
Newcastle's Downtown (ND), both with shops and restaurants. For an urban-wilderness
loop from Lake Boren Park (B), head north on the waterline; cut east past the downtown
library and go north on the Parkway (east side). Continue to the Coal Creek Trail, or turn
east at the Commons to join the trail at NC. Walk east to C; follow trails in Cougar
Mountain Park past D; return to B via the CrossTown Trail or the May Creek Greenway.
At B, a planned boardwalk south of Lake Boren will complete the CrossTown Trail
and link the two halves of Lake Boren Park. During 2020, the City hopes to apply for
grants and begin Phase I: a trail segment through the future Stone Garden by the shore of
Lake Boren. The Stone Garden is the site proposed for the Jim Price memorial.
4. May Creek Greenway. The Greenway is complete except for the unfinished segment
(dashed line) of the May Creek Trail, from I-405 (TCR) to F (the Renton-Newcastle
boundary). The trail will extend under I-405 by the time the new interchange and transit
center are finished (in 2024). Until the trail is complete, "Jones Road" (Jones Ave NE
and NE 31st Street) provides a tree-shaded, low-traffic alternative along May Creek.
From TCR, the planned transit center in Renton, walkers can follow the May Creek
Greenway (when complete) into Cougar Mountain Park, making a Grand Loop around
Newcastle back to TCR, or taking the Grand Traverse to TCI, the existing transit
center in Issaquah (when the trail route is opened). Bus stops at A and ND add to the
possibilities for long car-free trail walks on loops or point-to-point routes.
At F, a footbridge across May Creek is needed to complete the May Creek Trail and
Greenway. A suspension bridge has been proposed; building it would likely require a
state grant and /or help from King County. Newcastle has extended its trail to the bridge
site. On Renton's side, a short trail on public parkland from bridge to street can provide
pedestrian access until the planned trail segment is completed.
The footbridge is important. It will complete the west-to-east trail connection from Lake
Washington to Cougar Mountain and beyond. It will also provide a north-to-south trail
connection from SW Newcastle and Renton's Kenyon-Dobson Park (NW of F) across
May Creek to Kennydale and (via the Honey Creek Trail) to the Renton Highlands. The
proposed Gypsy Creek Trail will connect the park (after it opens) and SW Newcastle to
the footbridge. A nearby historic area (with kiosk, photos, bench, and viewpoint)
celebrates a railway trestle that once crossed May Creek (trails use the rail route). And
the footbridge will be a destination in itself: a 200' bridge over a salmonid stream joined
by two smaller streams in a lovely wooded valley.