Half Time Hike
Cougar Mountain is part of the Issaquah Alps and is at the western edge of this range. It is a more of a foothill than a mountain with a high point reaching just over 1600ft. The Red Town Trail is part of the Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park system of trails. This is one of 35 trails in the park and is most easily accessed from the Red Town Trailhead. Many of the trails are very short, less than a mile long, like the Red Town Trail, but they all interconnect and so it is very easy to get a decent length hike by cobbling different trails together. And, even though it is a crazy mishmash of trails, they are all very well signed so it very easy to know where you are and where you need to turn to do the hike that you want. That being said, I strongly encourage you to pick up a trail map provided at the trailhead. This will allow you to optimize your route decision making. The trails vary in size, going from car sized widths down to nice sized single tracks typical for city trails. This area is full of history, having been a signicant mining community dating back to the 1860's. Many trails will have info boards or relics left from the past to,help convey what went on before. The park, just on the outskirts of Bellevue, is surrounded by homes, but because of the dense forest you are only aware of this on a few of the exterior trails.
There are 5 official trail heads that provide access to this Wildland park. The Red Town TH has an I nfo board with a detailed map, a couple of port-a-pots with enough parking for 40 cars.
It is important that hikers stay on the trails. The area is strewned with abandoned coal shafts and tunnels that burrow beneath the surface. Cave-ins and poisonous gases are a very real danger. Signs, stating this, dot the park around KNOWN areas.
The Red Town Trail is a road and one of the least scenic trails in the park. That being said, you are in a densely forested area surrounded by towering moss covered trees (so it is beautiful) and this trail is one of the main arteries that will get to some of the other more scenic trails. The trail starts off by climbing a small hill where you'll gain 80ft in elevation in just under .12 miles. That is the most strenuous part of this trail. From here the trail is fairly flat with some very gradual dips and rises as it heads in a fairly straight southerly direction. The trail is composed of compact dirt and crushed, thumb-sized rocks, making it ideal for most conditions. The trail is only .84 miles long, but there are a lot of junctures in that .84 miles. At .15 miles is the start of the Cave Hole Trail. At .27 miles is the juncture for the Bagley Seam Trail. At .32 is the connection for the Rainbow Town Trail. As I said, options galore! There is an info board at about .71 miles that talks about the attempted restoration of an upcoming meadow. At .73 miles there is a side trail that leads to the aforementioned meadow. Also at this spot there is rock with a cool quote from Henry Ford carved into its surface. (You'll have to hike the trail to read the quote though). The trail ends shortly thereafter at .84 miles. At this point the trail splits and divides out into several other trails. You can either turn around and retrace your steps or chose another trail at this terminus to create a loop.
The side trail that leads to the meadow is very short (maybe .15 miles all together). The side trail will lead to a fenced meadow that you can walk through and then the side trail will reconnect to the Red Town Trail at about the .76 mark.
There is no water at the trailhead so plan accordingly.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.