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. It also highlights the growing
possibilities for regional trail walks using mass transit. From the transit center in Renton (TCR)
planned for 2024, walkers can follow the May Creek Greenway (when complete) into Cougar Mountain Park
and return via the Coal Creek Trail, doing a grand loop, or do a grand traverse to the transit center
in Issaquah (TCI). For more about Newcastle projects see Ongoing Projects.
1. Regional Trails. The Eastrail (red) is a regional multi-use trail in the Eastside
Rail Corridor. In 2022 a 2.5-mile stretch (paved, 20 feet wide) opened from Bellevue to Renton.
Access (A on the map) for cyclists and pedestrians is provided at 118th Avenue SE and Coal Creek
Parkway. From there the trail continues south past Bellevue's Newcastle Beach Park (just south of A)
to Renton's Kennydale Beach Park and 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. This 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.
Newcastle Beach Park makes an excellent trailhead for the Eastrail and the Coal Creek Trail,
with ample parking near the trail, restrooms, a picnic shelter, and a playground. To reach the
Coal Creek Trail, walk the short distance to the Eastrail, follow it north to the next access,
and follow the sidewalk under I-405 to the current trailhead on 119th Ave SE. To help, Bellevue
could extend the trail to the park and mark it with trail signs.
2. Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park. Local citizens have launched three campaigns
to preserve open space areas adjacent to Cougar Mountain Park, all supported by Newcastle Trails (NT)
Issaquah Alps Trails Club (IATC).
Save Cougar Mountain has succeeded: the Bergsma
property (near TCI) has been saved from development and used to expand the park.
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.
Save DeLeo Wall led a successful effort to
delay the planned logging of a forest parcel (D) in Newcastle, with Newcastle, Renton, and
King County joining forces; but the County's efforts to buy the parcel are stalled (unwilling seller).
IATC is NT's sister organization, older, bigger, and hugely effective: check their website, join,
and support their campaigns.
3. Newcastle Trails. The Newcastle-Cougar map shows only a few of Newcastle's trails.
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 nature trails. The 80th Street & Sylvan Trail
route (black) can be walked on public land almost to the Crosstown Trail.
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
Waterline Trail (blue) and the sidewalks of
Coal Creek Parkway (orange) both run south from the
Coal Creek Trail near the Red Cedar Trailhead. The
Horse Trail (brown) runs south to
the park entrance (E), where the last trail section is being constructed as part of a new
development, the May Creek Park Assemblage.
4. Central Newcastle and Lake Boren Park. Coal Creek Parkway provides a sidewalk
route past Newcastle Commons (NC) to Newcastle's Downtown (ND), two population centers
with apartments, restaurants, and other businesses. It continues past Lake Boren and
Lake Boren Park, which wraps around the south end of the lake. Here the Lake Boren
Boardwalk (B) is planned. When completed in late 2022, it will carry the CrossTown
Trail around the south end of the lake, connecting the main park to its undeveloped
eastern half. Here we can build a trail along the east lakeshore, running north from the boardwalk
and ascending to the Esplanade. This will complete the long-planned
Lake Boren Trail around the lake.
5. May Creek Greenway and Footbridge. The Greenway is complete except for Renton's May
Creek Trail. By 2024, when the I-405 interchange and transit center (TCR) are finished,
Renton plans to extend the trail under the freeway to Jones Avenue NE. The trail will be
incomplete (dashed line) from there to the proposed May Creek Footbridge (F) until needed
property is acquired – and the bridge won't be built without a trail on the Renton side.
But there are other possibilities for Renton by 2024: use parts of Jones Avenue and NE 31st
Street (as temporary links) to complete the May Creek Trail; extend the existing Honey Creek
Trail or the proposed Pacific Railroad Trail to the bridge site. Newcastle Trails proposes
that Newcastle, Renton and King County reactivate their earlier partnership for this trail-bridge
project. It would open a greatly expanded park and trail system to a large and growing population.