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History Hike of the Hidden Coal Mines in Newcastle

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Newcastle, WA, USA 2.5 HOURS


Global Family Travels invites you on a guided journey of the well-groomed hiking trails in Newcastle’s Coal Creek area, which was once home to three coal mining towns in King County Washington, established in the mid-1800s after coal was discovered.  

A fun outing for kids and adults alike, we will walk the 4 mile trail along a beautiful wooded creek bordered by thick native foliage to search for treasures from the past. As we hike, we'll learn about the area's coal mining history and seek out remnants of the past hidden from those unaware of the fascinating stories that haunt this urban outpost.

Please choose the date you are interested in participating!  If the dates listed don't work for you, please email us at [email protected] or use this contact form to inquire about a custom date for your group.




COVID-19 Statement: This outdoor tour is operated with COVID-19 health and safety protocols in mind,  so please adhere to wearing a mask and follow social distancing requirements. For more information,  please see our extensive COVID19 safety protocols under Tasks tab. 

This tour is one of our Seattle Community Tours & Team Building Experiences.  Learn more about Global Family Travels.


With the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), the health and safety of Global Family Travels’ travelers, community partners, colleagues and guides are of paramount importance to us.  All participants on this experience, even those who are fully vaccinated, should still follow CDC’s recommendations for traveling safely including:

  • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth
  • Socially distance from others who are not in your group 
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer

Our COVID-19 SAFETY PROTOCOLS document, found under the TASKS section, outlines our commitment to mitigate and manage the risks associated with COVID-19 when you travel with us.  Please also refer to the tasks which has specific details for your activity and destination. 

Thank you for helping to keep yourself and fellow travelers and guides safe!

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Global Family Travels


Global Family Travels’ vision is to unite humanity and inspire travelers to take responsibility for the challenges and opportunities facing our increasingly interconnected planet.  Our mission is to Learn, Serve and Immerse, using travel as a means to build cultural bridges and to foster global citizens. Using tourism to help solve community challenges, we organize sustainable travel opportunities in partnership with local and global non-profit organizations and support many United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

This tour is one of our Seattle Community Tours & Team Building Experiences. Through partnerships with many Seattle-area non-profit organizations that address community and environmental challenges, our one-day educational adventures in Seattle are designed to create meaningful connections that support Destination Stewardship, including the preservation of diverse and native cultures, conservation, education, and economic growth of Greater Seattle.  

Learn more about Global Family Travels here!

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Overview of Tour

Below are the general meet and end locations for the tour. The times for each tour which depend on the date that your choose. We will send an email to you with the specifics once you register.

Tour beginning (9:00 AM or 2:00 PM):  You will meet your guide at the kiosk at the end of the Red Town Trailhead Parking Lot (address: 7501 Lakemont Blvd SE, Bellevue, WA).

Tour end (11:30 AM or 4:30 PM): Return to Red Town Trailhead Parking Lot


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About Cynthia Flash, Your Tour Guide

Cynthia is a Northwest native who is passionate about getting into the woods. She has been hiking in the Northwest for several decades and is skilled at leading groups. As a journalist and writer, she captivates her guests' interest with tons of history and stories. She loves Northwest art, history, hiking, running, walking and skiing. She tries to get outside every day - rain or shine. 

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About Eva Lundahl, Ph.D, Your Tour Guide

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About Ben Wheeler, Your Tour Guide

A Seattle native, Ben Wheeler has worked as a secondary school educator and administrator. Ben gave the keynote and endnote at the 2008 Global Citizenship Summit in Bali, Indonesia, and was the World Affairs Council’s 2009 World Educator. He authored the high school textbook It's All Connected - a Comprehensive Guide to Global Issues and Sustainable Solutions.  

From 2012 to early 2020, Ben taught Geography and Civilizations courses for middle schoolers at The Bush School in Seattle,  and also taught a wide-range of elective and experiential courses, including the following: Art in Public Places, Sustainable Design for Urban Living, Seattleness, Urban Forest Stewardship, Food Awareness, Oral History with Elders, Backpacking the Olympic Coast, and Stehekin Multi-Adventure.

Ben loves running, biking, fly-fishing, jazz and classical guitar, cross-country skiing, and backpacking. In addition to guiding numerous wilderness adventures in California and Washington, Ben has led international tours in Italy and India, most recently two weeks of cultural immersion in Ladakh, India, on the Himalayan Plateau.

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Red Town Trailhead: Directions & Parking

Please meet your guide in the parking lot of the Red Town Trailhead at this address:   7501 Lakemont Blvd SE, Bellevue, WA  Please meet your guide at the Kiosk. 

For an additional cost, we offer pick up from Mercer Island Park & Ride to the trailhead.  Please contact us if you need this service.

Parking and Trail Access

To reach the eastern endpoint, take Interstate 90, Exit 13. Drive south on Lakemont Boulevard SE for 3.1 miles. Slow down to look for the entrance to the Red Town trailhead, located on the left side of the road at the start of a sharp curve. The Coal Creek east trailhead is located 0.4 mile beyond Red Town, on the right.

To reach the Coal Creek Trailhead from I-405, take Exit 10, and follow Coal Creek Parkway SE for 1.3 miles east. Just after the light at Forest Drive, turn left into the lot. Note: No parking exists at the western endpoint of the lower trail. This section is served by a bus too.

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Learning Materials

From 1864 to 1963, Newcastle, Washington was the center of a busy coal mining industry producing nearly 11 million tons of coal from a crisscross of tunnels under present day Cougar Mountain, Coal Creek Natural Area and The Golf Club at Newcastle. There were two main town sites as well as large mining structures, buildings and homes. A railroad ran from the mines to Renton and Seattle, and there were roads extending to Lake Sammamish, May Valley and Lake Washington. Very little evidence of the once bustling coal mining town of more than 1000 people remains.

If you want to read up on the history before or after participating in our history hike,  we recommend visiting the Newcastle Historical Society and the following book, which tells the story of the mines, coal companies, transportation and the people of an almost forgotten era:

The Coals of Newcastle, a Hundred Years of Hidden History 2020 Edition.

by Newcastle Historical Society (Author), Eva Lundahl (Editor), Margaret Laliberte (Editor), Diane Lewis (Editor), Kathleen L. McDonald (Foreword)



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About our Hike

Join Global Family Travels on a guided journey of the well-groomed hiking trails in Newcastle’s Coal Creek area, which was once home to four coal mining towns in King County Wash., established in the mid-1800s after coal was discovered. We'll walk the 3- to 4-mile trail along a beautiful, wooded creek bordered by thick native foliage to search for treasures from the past. As we hike, we'll learn about the area's coal mining history and seek out remnants of the past hidden from those unaware of the fascinating stories that haunt this urban outpost.

You will see where President Rutherford Hayes visited, discover a hidden mine shaft and stumble upon relics of once-bustling towns that are being reclaimed by Mother Nature. You will learn about the plants - the friends and the foes – and may even taste some along the way. You will also get to take a short Forest Bath. These woods are filled with wonder and beauty. You will not forget this true Northwest experience - perfect for all ages.


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What to Bring

To be prepared for this fun adventure, we recommend the following:

  • a water bottle,
  • a snack
  • a rain jacket if rain is in the forecast,
  • hiking shoes or running shoes (no open-toed shoes, please)


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Newcastle, WA, USA
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