Blaze a new trail in Newcastle

April 30, 2009

By Jim Feehan

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The city’s newest trail is open to the public after a few minor repairs following the winter storms.

Terrace Trails, perhaps the most challenging of trails in the Newcastle Trails system, features aspens towering over Oregon grape, ferns and moss-covered boulders. The Terrace Trail, a quarter-mile stretch from the Newcastle Highlands to Cougar Mountain Park has some steep inclines befitting a Rocky Mountain goat.

Newcastle Trails will hold a Terrace Trail hike and opening June 6. The event will be held in conjunction with the 17th annual Take in the Outdoors with National Trails Day.

Terrace Trail, Newcastle’s newest trail, offers quiet solitude and good workout for hikers. Courtesy Bob Cerelli

Terrace Trail, Newcastle’s newest trail, offers quiet solitude and good workout for hikers. Courtesy Bob Cerelli

The Terrace Trail was the Newcastle Trails’ major project for the past two years. Crews replaced the old trail now blocked by fallen trees with an easier and more accessible route that winds between massive moss-covered boulders. 

The route starts at the back entrance of the Highlands and climbs the DeLeo Wall up to the Terrace subdivision and Cougar Mountain Park. The trail is among a system of trails beginning in Renton, traversing through May Creek and winding through Newcastle before it meets up with the so-called Issaquah Alps of Cougar, Squak and Tiger mountains.

The Newcastle Trails group was formed in 1999, when Garry Kampen and a small band of local volunteers noted that city officials had not done anything with trails since the city was incorporated in 1994. For the past 10 years, members of the trails group have cleared impenetrable brush, built footbridges and stair steps, and hauled in wheelbarrows of wood chips to surface often-muddy paths. 

Kampen’s roots in the community run deep. He has lived for a number of years in the Hazelwood neighborhood. He was an early proponent of incorporation; in fact, he campaigned door-to-door for cityhood. Kampen was honored two years ago with a Newcastle Chamber of Commerce Diamond Award for his work on the trails system. 

The trails attract an eclectic mix of visitors, from hard-core hikers who train for glacier hikes to latte-drinking hikers who pop open the baby strollers and strap in the children for an afternoon jaunt.

“The trails offer healthy exercise and a chance to enjoy nature and socialize with fellow walkers,” Kampen said.

The beauty of Newcastle’s system of trails is that it encompasses the entire city. About seven miles of trails meander through residential neighborhoods, The Golf Club at Newcastle and an undeveloped parcel of land owned by the Renton School District. 

The school district property is a favorite among trail aficionados, because it’s so lush and primitive. You almost feel like you’re going into the deepest, darkest portion of the forest. 

Another popular trail is the West Cross Town Trail. Starting near the old Hazelwood Elementary School, you wind your way past the water reservoir and up Hazelwood Hill. At the top of the hill, a marker mentions that hazelnuts (also called filberts) dominated the region. You’ll discover that Tukwila comes from the Indian word “Tuckwilla” meaning land of hazelnuts.

You can go for a hike and get a history lesson, too. 


Newcastle trails

  • The Lake Boren Esplanade is a six-tenths of a mile paved trail following the west side of Coal Creek Parkway from Newcastle Way to Lake Boren Park. 
  • The Highlands Trail is a system of 2.4 miles of trails within the Highlands of Newcastle subdivision. These trails are surfaced with wood chips, and are intended for equestrian and pedestrian use. 
  • The Golf Course Trail is a trail paralleling Newcastle Golf Club Road from 136th to 155th avenues southeast. A post marks a trail into Cougar Mountain Park. 
  • The Clubhouse Trail is a trail offering exceptional views from the Meadowview Park subdivision. The Golf Club at Newcastle maintains this trail under an agreement that allows for public use, subject to closure during tournaments. 
  • The Meadowview Trail is a mix of trails and sidewalks that link the lower end of the Clubhouse Trail to Cougar Mountain Park. 
  • The West CrossTown Trail runs from Hazelwood Elementary School to Lake Boren. 
  • The May Creek Trail runs through May Creek Park and along an old railway grade. 
  • The Milepost Trail runs east and south from the center of Lake Boren Park, through the Milepost subdivision, to Newcastle Elementary School, then south to the Highlands trails.
  • Terrace Trail winds up the forested DeLeo Wall from the historic Thomas Rouse Road on 144th Place Southeast to the Terrace subdivision and Cougar Mountain Park.



If you go

Newcastle Trails will hold a Terrace Trail hike and opening June 6. The time hasn’t yet been set. From downtown Newcastle, follow Coal Creek Parkway Southeast, turn left at the Milepost neighborhood traffic light at 135th Avenue Southeast, follow 135th up to Newcastle Elementary School, turn left on 136th Avenue Southeast and then right onto 144th Place Southeast. The lower trailhead is on 144th at Southeast 87th Street (opposite the gated back entrance to the Highlands subdivision).

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