Just recently, I spent my REI dividend and purchased a couple of guidebooks for camping and hiking in Washington, and on New Year’s Eve, we went for a hike in the Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park. It was really convenient, less than 30 minutes from our house.
We stopped for white gas, soup and a topo map on the way there. We got soup and fuel, but no map. The guidebook said that there were trail maps, so I hoped for the best and just went with it.
We hiked from the Red Town Trailhead up to the Coal Creek Falls and then back again. The weather wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great, either. The skies were cloudy (contributing to dark photographs) and the temperature was about 45 degrees. It sprinkled on us off an on and the puddles on the trail kept the kids happy.
We started out on the Red Town and Cave Hole Trails, both of which had the elevation gain at the beginning of the hike. Since we were diverging from the “Easy” trail in the guidebook, I had a little concern that the kids might get too tired from the start.
We stopped for lunch a little past the Coal Creek Falls. Since it was in the depths of winter (winter in the North West, that is) I brought my backpacking stove to make a hot soup lunch. Since it was a little cold, the hot soup and hot cocoa were nice and reinvigorating.
After lunch we headed back, by way of the Quarry Trail back to the Red Town Trail. There is a meadow that is being restored and the way it was described with the native flowers, it would be very pretty once it comes into bloom.
All in all, we hiked about 2.65 miles in about 3 hours, including our stop for lunch.
The park was really nice and there are many more trails that I hope we can explore. Before next time, I’ll buy the topo map of the “Issaquah Alps” so I have a better map. The kids all had fun, so it will be something we do again. Our proximity to the outdoors is something that I really like about living here in Washington.