May Creek trail bridge NEWCASTLE TRAILS May Creek trail bridge

 

 

About Newcastle Trails

NEWCASTLE TRAILS is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit volunteer organization focused on the preservation, expansion, and maintenance of trails within the City of Newcastle, Washington.

We recommend trail routes, identify priorities, and maintain a registry of volunteers to assist the City in trail work. Trail efforts will be planned and budgeted by the City in conformance with the Parks and Trails Plan.

Members need not reside in Newcastle, and equestrians are welcome. There are no dues. We communicate primarily by email. For more information, contact info@newcastletrails.org.

BOARD MEMBERS:
Garry Kampen (President)
Jim Price (Vice President)
Peggy Price (Treasurer)
Heather Hudson (Secretary)
Bruce Christopherson
Joel Harris (Web)
Grace Stiller (Weed Warriors)

Terrace Trail

The Terrace Trail was Newcastle Trails' major project for 2007-2008, carried out in cooperation with the City of Newcastle, the Issaquah Alps Trails Club, local Scout troops, and others. It replaces a storm-damaged informal trail with a carefully designed new trail with easier grades and better drainage.

The trail winds up the forested DeLeo Wall from the historic Thomas Rouse Road (144th Place SE) to the Terrace subdivision, with links to Cougar Mountain Park. The route features large trees (some storm-toppled), ferns, views, and huge moss-covered boulders (glacial erratics). It also provides a display of the trail-builder's art: curbing and steps of stone and wood; dips, slopes and ditches for drainage; switchbacks; even a passage through a tree.

The trail is about two-thirds of a mile long, about a half-hour walk each way. Cougar Mountain Park can be reached from the upper trailhead at the Terrace by walking a short distance on sidewalks: walk downhill to the first intersection, turn right, and follow the street uphilll into the park.

Directions to lower trailhead: See street map (route shown in green). Take Coal Creek Parkway to SE 91st Street (north of May Creek, at traffic light). Follow SE 91st east past the Highlands gatehouse. At the T (Highlands Park) turn left and follow 140th Ave. SE as it curves right (becoming SE 90th St.) and left (becoming 144th Ave. SE). At the T, turn right onto SE 87th St. The trailhead is one block straight ahead (east), just beyond the vehicle gate. Walk past the gate; the Terrace Trail begins at the steps.

Trail map: The sidebar has links to a trail map and guide. Look in the lower right-hand corner of the map for the Highlands and Terrace trails (solid green lines).

 

Calendar

October 6 - Monday Board Meeting (7-9PM)

October 19 - Sunday Trail Work (1-4PM)

November 3 - Monday Board Meeting (7-9PM)

The events above are all open to the public. Details below.

Monthly Board Meetings

The Newcastle Trails board meets the first Monday of each month (unless otherwise noted), 7-9 PM at Regency Newcastle , a retirement community at 7454 Newcastle Golf Club Road (just off Coal Creek Parkway). Board meetings are open to the public. If you plan to attend, check the web site for last-minute changes and/or email NT at info@newcastletrails.org.

Sunday Trail Work

Our first Sunday work party is scheduled for 1PM-4PM. Further Sunday work parties may be scheduled depending on turnout. Help us build the East CrossTown Trail running SE from Newcastle Vista (a development under construction) to the Terrace Trail and into Cougar Mountain Park. Volunteers with no trail-building experience are welcome; there are tasks for all abilities. It's helpful when volunteers show up on time as our crew boss must give a talk on tool safety (tools are provided). A waiver form must be signed by an adult prior to work on the trail. Contact: Peggy Price at 425-829-2196 or info@newcastletrails.org.

Directions. (To use GPS, enter 13913 SE 81st Place, Newcastle, WA 98059. However, this is a new street, so your GPS may not find it.) From Coal Creek Parkway, turn east on SE 79th Street. In a few blocks, turn right on SE 79th Drive. Where the median planting strip ends, turn right on 141st (a steep right turn). Turn right on SE 81st Place (the next street) into the new subdivision, and park on the street. From the left (south) side of the cul-de-sac, take a gravel trail between houses. At the foot of the steps, turn left and follow the trail to the work site, which is now past the first four (short) switchback turns. We're getting up near some good views—especially after the leaves have fallen.

Map Location. To locate the work site on the NT trail map (www.newcastletrails.org), follow the CrossTown Trail NW from Cougar Mountain to the dotted segment. Newcastle Vista is the cul-de-sac development where the dots begin; the work site is SE on the dashed line.

Project Description. The new trail we are building will connect Newcastle Vista (and eventually Beit Tikvah and Coal Creek Parkway) to the Terrace Trail and Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park. We are building the trail from scratch: clearing with loppers and rakes, culling the soil of organics, and contouring the trail bed. Tasks will be assigned based on skill, capability, interest, and personal goals. There's work suited to wrestlers, football players, and those looking for body contouring or weight management. And there's light work clearing brush.

What to Wear & Bring: Please wear long pants, sturdy shoes, and sunscreen or long sleeves and a hat. Bring water and a snack. We have enough tools for about a dozen volunteers, but it would be helpful if those who have their own shovels, pick-mattocks, and loppers brought them. We have a good selection of gardening gloves, but you may also bring your own.

Children: Children are welcome (our local Scouts are a godsend), but any child under 12 should be accompanied by a parent or guardian. For ages 12 to 16, we'd like to see one adult for every four children. Teens can earn community service hours.

Weed Warriors Events

Weed Warriors Environmental Stewardship Projects restore a healthy balance to our environment by removing invasive weeds and planting native species plants. Click on the Project Calendar to view scheduled events.

When You Walk Our Trails

Consider carrying a litter bag or clippers, picking up litter or trimming intrusive plants as you go. Many trail users do this from time to time, and it's a great help. For major problems - a fallen tree or a washout - call the City of Newcastle at 425-649-4444 or fill out a Request for Action at www.ci.newcastle.wa.us.

Milestones

Spring 2009. Attended hearings on a reroute of the Highlands Trails. Resurfaced the West CrossTown Trail near the cemetery in April-May. Held the grand opening of the Terrace Trail on June 6, with ribbon-cutting and trail walks afterwards.

Summer 2009. Held our first board meeting at the new Regency location in July. For Newcastle Days in September we supported the 5K Run/Walk, had a booth, and led trail walks.

Fall 2009. Supported local Volksmarch, led the first YMCA Family Trail Walk, and did route-finding on the Sylvan Creek Trail. Worked on the Hazelwood Trail, which was built as a series of Eagle Scout projects by Evan Bell, Aaron Escamilla, Nathan Malmberg, and Ildar Hayes.

Spring 2010. Held the Hazelwood Trail grand opening on June 5. Hired a professional survey at the Terrace to prepare for Terrace-ECTT project.

Summer 2010. Improved the West CrossTown Trail in the School Woods and at the Olympus Trail junction. Adopted a new Newcastle Trails Map by NT member Harry Morgan for our web site and trail guide. Made a new Trail Brochure, helped with the annual 5K Run/Walk, and had a booth with handouts at Newcastle Days.

Fall 2010. Initiated a citywide trail sign upgrade by Scout Neil Chakravarty; NT provided plans, drawings and sign plates. Supported the YMCA Family Trail Walk, worked for trail improvements at Eden's Grove, and launched a trail bench project.

Summer 2011. Completed improvements to the north section of the Olympus Trail on the hill west of the cemetery, and rerouted the West CrossTown Trail at the Olympus junction to reduce slopes. Scout Evan Nygaard led much of the work as his Eagle Scout project.

Fall 2011. Planned and roughed out a route for the May Creek Trail extension to Coal Creek Parkway. Completed the trail from the Parkway to the Boren Creek bridge and beyond, helped by two Eagle Scout projects led by Roland Deex and Stephen Johnson. This provides access from the Highlands at Newcastle to the picnic area at the confluence of May Creek and Boren Creek.

 

Trail News

15th Anniversary of Newcastle Trails. Newcastle Trails celebrates its 15th birthday this year, as the trails in and around Newcastle are beginning to come together in a series of loops. You can see a trail map with a regional overview here and a one-page article on the trail system here.

30-Home Development on CrossTown Trail. A new development with 30 homes has been proposed for a 9.8-acre Renton School District tract (the School Woods) between the Hazelwood and Olympus communities. This tract is crossed by three trails: the Horse Trail running south from Donegal Park; the east-west CrossTown Trail connecting Hazelwood School with Lake Boren, and the proposed extension of the China Creek Trail from its current terminus on Lake Boren. The first two trails are heavily used in and near the School Woods; the China Creek Trail is intended link the Woods to Lake Boren and downtown Newcastle.

Unfortunately, the preliminary plat submitted to Newcastle by Quadrant Homes leaves no room for trails. Since there are no alternate routes for these trails outside the plat, Newcastle Trails will press for a revised plat that includes all three trails as required by Newcastle's Comprehensive Plan. A number of individuals and organizations have submitted comments to the City. You can find NT's comments (an 8-page PDF document) here. There's also a 1-page overview here.

We thank those members who submitted comments to planner David Lee before the August 5 deadline. The Public Hearing for the development has not been scheduled, but it probably won't be held till November at the earliest. The developers will have time to revise their proposal in the light of public comments and discussions with City staff. And those comments, along with the developer's final proposal and staff recommendations, will be passed on to the Hearing Examiner and (later) the City Council. This information will become part of the public record, available at City Hall and (hopefully) on the City's web site.

Trail System Overview

Trail work done in 2013 or carried over into 2014 includes the following trails:
May Creek Trail - extended to Parkway & Highlands
Highlands & Heritage trails - major upgrades
Waterline Trail - on sidewalks along 129th
China Creek - walkable 129th to north Lake Boren
CrossTown Trail (East) - links to Cougar Mountain
CrossTown Trail (West) - major changes pending
Horse Trail - easements near Donegal Park
Olympus Trail - links CrossTown & Waterline trails
Coal Creek Trail - big upgrades done or planned
May Creek Greenway - Cougar Mountain to Lake Washington

The May Creek Trail has been extended east to Coal Creek Parkway (and the Highlands). The new route is walkable now, but unfinished in places. Construction has been a joint effort of the City, NT, and Boy Scouts (mostly as Eagle projects). We expect completion this summer (followed by a ribbon-cutting). The new 0.8-mile section connects to the existing rail trail just west of the Waterline Trail. It offers views of May Creek, descends on a switchback, and heads east across the water line; then it heads upstream along May Creek, crosses Boren Creek on a bridge, and ascends to the Parkway.

The Highlands Trail System has been split into two trails: the Highlands Trail loops around the Highlands and down 91st to the Parkway (at the junction of the May Creek and Milepost trails); the Heritage Trail runs southeast from Heritage Morgan Park to the Highlands Trail, and crosses the loop north to south. The City has initiated major improvements to the Highlands Trail north (drainage), south, and east (a well-drained crushed-rock surface). An Eagle Scout project has replaced many old signposts, and 4 new signposts will be installed in the SE Highlands where the trail enters and leaves the old Thomas Rouse Road. These will use improved sign plates, on order from a new supplier in Monroe. The next stage will include sign plates for the new Highlands posts, and new signposts for the Heritage and May Creek trails.

The Waterline Trail now runs along the east side of 129th Ave SE on sidewalks from SE 73rd past the Lake Boren Townhomes. Sidewalks are continuous north to the new library, and will be built on SE 73rd to serve the Hazelwood neighborhood.

The China Creek Trail is now complete behind the Lake Boren Townhomes, buffered by wetlands, with a spur trail to the shore of Lake Boren. The south end of this trail segment will be extended to the Waterline Trail (on 129th Ave SE) in August. The north end can be reached by sidewalk from 129th. This provides a direct sidewalk and trail connection from the new library to the lakeshore. The trail will be extended along the creek to Coal Creek Parkway when the large parcel north of Lake Boren is developed.

The CrossTown Trail crosses Newcastle from inside Cougar Mountain Park, through Lake Boren Park and Hazelwood Park, to the ballfield parking lot on Newcastle Way (near the Renton Academy on 116th Ave SE).

The East CrossTown Trail (east of Coal Creek Parkway) is NT's next major trail project after the May Creek Trail is completed to the Parkway this summer. Two sections of this trail are complete: the Newcastle Vista section (built early this year by the developers) and the Terrace section (from the Terrace Trail junction east to the Terrace steps). Starting this year, we'll complete the three remaining sections: (a) Beit Tikvah to N. Vista (b) N. Vista to Terrace, and (c) Terrace to Cougar Mountain Park. Both (b) and (c) are in use; (b) will be done first, (c) has been improved in places, and (a) is in preparation (route-finding is underway).

The West CrossTown Trail (west of Coal Creek Parkway) may change in two areas: The Renton School District (RSD) is reviewing bids from developers for the School Woods, where the trail passes between the Olympus and Hazelwood communities. And NT will ask RSD to relocate the trail to its original route between Newport Trace and the ballfields when the Renton Academy is replaced by the new middle school. NT will work with the City and RSD to optimize trail access in both areas.

The Horse Trail runs south from Donegal Park in the Hazelwood neighborhood. The City obtained two needed trail easements and secured the route from Donegal Park to the CrossTown Trail.

The Olympus Trail runs south from the CrossTown Trail (near the cemetery) to the Waterline Trail (near Eden's Grove). It's incomplete but walkable, with mostly finished trail (with trail signs) at the north and south ends, and an informal trail in the utility corridor. The corridor is potentially a kind of linear park; the Olympus Homeowners Association is contemplating improvements.

The Coal Creek Trail is owned and maintained by Bellevue, but it crosses into Newcastle at two points: near the YMCA, where Bellevue has provided an access trail (at NT's urging), and the Mutual Materials property, now destined for development. The developer is trail-friendly: we expect new access trails linking downtown Newcastle to the Coal Creek Trail. Bellevue has improved the trail east of the Parkway with trail work and new bridges; and the rebuilt Primrose Loop will soon provide an alternate route close to (and bridging) Coal Creek. Trail work in 2013 includes interpretive signs for the historical area near the Red Town (eastern) trailhead. And in late 2014, when the Coal Creek Parkway bridges are finished, the trail will extend under the Parkway.

The May Creek Greenway is a proposed trail route from Cougar Mountain Park to Lake Washington, wooded except for a short section crossing Coal Creek Parkway. Just as Bellevue's Coal Creek Trail provides a Mountain-to-Lake link for the Mountains-to-Sound Greenway, May Creek Trail provides a Mountain-to-Lake link in the May Creek Greenway. From Cougar Mountain Park (where both greenways connect), the May Creek Greenway uses parts of the CrossTown, Terrace, Highlands, and May Creek trails (complete almost to Renton). A proposed single-span footbridge, a joint Newcastle-Renton venture, will carry the trail across May Creek into Renton. On the Newcastle side, a historical information sign is planned near one end of the long-vanished railroad trestle. Renton has completed two parts of the May Creek Trail: from I-405 to Lake Washington Boulevard (new in 2013); and from the Barbee Mill development to Lake Washington. Newcastle Trails and Renton Trails have done some route-finding down to the footbridge site. And Renton Trails has proposed a new rail-trail connecting the footbridge to the Kennydale neighborhood.