Wednesday, September 4, 2013

East Lake Sammamish Trail (ELST) - Summer 2013 Update

Update Aug 2013 -  Issaquah Segment of the trail is now open again.

This part of the trail is from SE 43rd Way to Gilman Blvd. The rest of the project is still scheduled to be completed in Summer 2014





For more info on the project, click here (kingcounty.gov)

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Here is why the East Lake Sammamish Trail is now closed, seems odd even small sections are closed on the weekends when no work is being done.

 Note - It will be closed until Summer 2014. More info below...



Pavement, other improvements coming to East Lake Sammamish Trail in Issaquah

Year-long closure in Issaquah allows King County to replace soft-surface trail with blacktop, soft-surface shoulders, better street crossings, drainage and more

Upgrades are coming to King County’s East Lake Sammamish Trail (ELST) through Issaquah, including removing the existing gravel trail and constructing a 12-foot-wide asphalt trail with gravel shoulders, installing concrete sidewalk connections, retaining walls, fencing and signage, plus wetland mitigation planting and landscaping.

A 2.2-mile-long stretch of the trail from Northwest Gilman Boulevard to Southeast 43rd Way will be closed to all users during construction, which could take up to one year. The closure is expected to begin May 14.
The extensive scope of work in the trail’s narrow corridor requires complete closure of the trail. Trail users are advised to find alternate routes around the closed portion.

Nearby East Lake Sammamish Parkway features both bike lanes and sidewalks for ELST users who want to travel along the eastern shoreline of the lake and around the closed stretch of trail. Those who simply want to get out on a trail are encouraged to visit other portions of King County’s 175-mile regional trails system during construction.

The upgrades will make the trail accessible to a wider range of users, including bicyclists with narrow tires, inline skaters and others. Upgraded intersection and street crossing treatments will also be installed.
The estimated cost of completing the Issaquah segment is $2.74 million, with funding provided by the 2008-2013 voter-approved King County Open Space and Trails Levy, the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program, and the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program.

This project is the second segment of the ELST to be converted from the interim soft-surface trail to the finished master-planned trail. The Redmond segment was completed November 2011, while design of the North Sammamish Segment began December 2011 and construction is expected to begin in 2013.

King County purchased the 11-mile-long East Lake Sammamish rail banked corridor in 1998. An interim soft-surface trail was completed in 2006.
The ELST follows an historic railroad route along the eastern shore of Lake Sammamish within the cities of Redmond, Sammamish and Issaquah. Part of the “Locks to Lakes Corridor,” the trail follows an off-road corridor along the lake and through lakeside communities.

Once the ELST is fully developed, it will be part of a 44-mile-long regional urban trail corridor from Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood to Issaquah. More information is available at www.kingcounty.gov/eastlakesammamishtrail.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Coal Creek Trail

Trail Route: Coal Creek trail from Coal Creek Parkways trailhead to Red Town trailhead



Update May 2013 - Trailhead and Parking Lot Changes
The Coal Creek trailhead and parking lot will close in May and remain closed during construction of the bridge on Coal Creek Parkway. A new trail accessing the park has been established nearby at 5199 Forest Drive. A more developed interim parking lot will be completed at this location in the summer of 2013.

Trail Report:
The trailhead of this hike is located right off Coal Creek Parkway between 405 and Newcastle. Its a small dirt parking lot which fits about 6-7 cars. This first part of this hike can be popular on weekends, the upper part of the hike is less crowded.

In 2007-08 there was alot of winter damage in the Coal Creek Park, you would see lots of knocked over trees and erosion around the trail. Most of the damage has been repaired - logs cleared, new bridges built, etc. The hike starts out very close to Coal Creek. After leaving the trailhead you can hear the parkway for a while, but soon it fades away as you get deeper into the park.

The trail is very well packed and seems well traveled over the years. The first half mile is very enjoyable and is mostly flat - making for a nice creekside adventure. At about .3 mile you will meet the intersection with the Forest Drive Trail. This is an access point for those reaching Coal Creek from Forest drive and the local Bellevue trail system.




The old damaged bridges have been replaced with new wide bridges over Coal Creek.


After the bridge the trail becomes very forest-like, and less creekside. The area is full of deer, birds and small forest animals. The trail becomes fairly narrow at this point. Another new bridge is here -- along with the old bridge next to it.




The primrose trail is closed and is not accessible as an alternate trail from the Coal Creek trail.

Past the Primrose trail, the route follows an old railroad road.

There are a couple unmarked intersections on this upper part of the trail. The first is a fork in the trail. Take the trail to the LEFT (it wont seem correct, but the trail to the right simply goes back up to the nearby neighborhood.)

After passing a clearing and a slight uphill, the trail continues along the old railroad path. After this point you will reach a gravel access road. This is another unmarked intersection, continue straight and slightly uphill.


The Coal Creek trail continues off to the left - there is a sign at this intersection. The trail narrows for a while and continues on a very cool stair/bridge built over one of the small streams.



After a short distance the trail has been much improved with a cleared and mulched path.


Be on the look to the right for a old railroad turnaround -- its not just a cement landing in a clearing, but shows how the area was used in years past.

The trail passes the North Fork Falls with two new viewing areas to get up close.


After the new bridge, the trail splits - you can take either route to reach the coal mine shaft and informational sign (now moved next to the cave).



The trail continues up to a meadow area that is across the street from the Red Town Trailhead which serves Cougar Mountain and its great trail system.



To return to the Coal Creek Parkway trailhead, simply turn around and re-trace your route back down. The elevation change is only 460 feet, and there are no steep hills. Its a very nice creekside hike for anyone.

Coal Creek Trail at EveryTrail
EveryTrail - Find the best Hiking in Washington


Basics:
Area - Coal Creek Park (Near Bellevue, Washington)
Trails - Coal Creek Trail (N1), Cougar Mountain Regional Trail (Non-detailed Map , Upper section Map -- Note: neither of these maps show the unmarked intersections)
Elevation - Gain of 460 feet - start at 180 ft to top of 640 ft
Length - 6 miles out and back - 2 hours easy hike
Trail - Trail varies from single track to gravel roads. A couple good stops along the way.
Bikes - Not allowed on this hike
View - no true views, but lots to look at -- waterfall, railroad history, coal mines
Getting There - Take I-90 to Coal Creek Parkway - head east. The trailhead is on the east side of the road before you reach Newcastle.
Fee- None, free parking
Other Trails - Only real connecting trail on this hike is closed. This hike does lead to the Cougar Mountain trails system.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Save Squak Mountain


You may have seen the signs along May Valley Road and SR900. If you hike Cougar or Squak Mountain, be sure to check out this site for more info: http://savesquak.com/

Media Coverage:
http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2020467959_squakforestxml.html
http://www.issaquahreporter.com/news/193354141.html


PUBLIC COMMENTS are being accepted during this review and may be submitted by emailing BRUCE.McDONALD@dnr.wa.gov and JAMES.HEURING@dnr.wa.gov. You may also reach them by phone at 360-825-1631. Emails or letters are preferred to ensure all comments become part of the public record.  You may refer to record permit number 2415960, OR you may reference the Erickson Logging parcels formerly owned by the Issaquah Highlands, LLC. The usual comment period is 14 days but we have been advised that the State DNR expects to accept comments thru the end of the 30 day review period, which ends on March 27th. We need your voices! HELP!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Johnson Canyon Trail

This is one of the easiest hikes in the Snow Canyon State park. Its is easily access from the Red Mountain Resort or the parking lot across the street.

From the Resort, take the Inspiration Trail toward the park until it meets with the paved trail along Snow Canyon Road. After passing the Park Welcome sign, look for the Johnson Trail gate on the right side.


The trail is closed March 15 - October 31st

The trail is well marked and maintained - however there is no water/facilities available at the trailhead so come prepared.

The dirt trail is mostly flat, but the trail surface can be bumpy with lava rocks or mixes of sand and sandstone. Tennis shoes are ok for this hike, but watch your footing.


The only intersection on this trail is with the Scoot Cave trail - which looks fairly unused.

Continue on the main trail toward the Canyon.

There was water running at the time we visited in late January with the sounds of small frogs crocking.


After passing over the small creek, you will see a fenced trail barrier. Be sure to look up at this point to find the large freestanding Arch spanning 200 feet above the fence. A number of folks who did this hike completely missed the Arch, since its not obvious unless you are looking for it.



You can continue on the trail through the rest of the canyon or just turn around and head back to the way you came.

Johnson Canyon Trail at EveryTrail

EveryTrail - Find the best Hiking near Washington, Utah

Basics:
Area - Snow Canyon State Park (near St. George Utah)
Trails - Johnson Canyon Trail (see map)
Length - Easy 2 miles roundtrip
Duration: 60 mins ~ 90 hours (round-trip)
Trail - Mix of Sand, Dirt, Sandstone trail surface
Bikes - No bikes allowed
View - Canyon views
Getting There - Snow Canyon Road from Ivins or Highway 18 from St George. Look for the parking lot on the left before the pay station booth.
Fee- $6 per car - but trailhead is before the pay station.
Weather - Very Sunny

Hidden Pinyon Overlook


This about 2 miles from the entrance of Snow Canyon State Park (originally named Dixie State Park) outside of St. George Utah. Upon entering the park, you do have to pay a fee of $6 per car.


Depending on the season be sure to bring extra water for this hike. We did it in the afternoon and again at Sunrise. Both times are great times to do this hike - watching the sunrise over the Canyon walls was fantastic and make for better photos with the morning light.

If you are looking for a free/walkable hike from the Red Mountain Resort I would suggest doing the Johnson Canyon trail hike (which is prior to the Pay Booth for the park -- its also easily accessed from the Inspiration trail from the Resort.

For this hike to the Hidden Pinyon Overlook, you need to drive your car to the trailhead. For a general map of the Park, click here.

The parking lot/trailhead serves a number of trails including the Three Ponds, Whiptail (paved) and Hidden Pinyon trail.



From the Parking Lot, head due north/uphill on the paved trail and be on the lookout for the Hidden Pinyon dirt trail on the left side. You can take the Three Ponds trail as well as it all ends up at the same point.

After walking on the sandy sections the Hidden Pinyon trail quickly enters an area of small canyons surrounding several large sandstone formations. At two points you do need to scale/scramble on sandstone - its nothing difficult.



After passing through the canyons, you will meet up with the (unmarked) Three Ponds trail, just keep to the right.

Soon the landscape will open up with some great vistas of the Park. The trail will continue on a mix of sandstone/dirt. 



Continue on the trail looking for the large intersection sign. Some folks probably call it a day and return on the Hidden Pinyon trail, but be sure to continue toward the Hidden Pinyons Overlook.

The Three Ponds trail continues over the edge at one point, but stay left continuing toward a large rock plateau.



Be sure to scale the final/highest plateau to get the best view (its well worth it). Look for an easier access point around the plate on the left side.



Take in the gorgeous views - my photos really dont do it justice.

On the return, you can re-trace your steps or take the quicker Hidden Pinyon route (turn left at the Large sign intersection).

We found returning via the Hidden Pinyon route was a nice change form the canyon route.

The Hidden Pinyon trail intersects with the Whiptail paved trail at one point, feel free to just take the Paved trail back to the Parking Lot.

Hidden Pinyon Overlook at EveryTrail

EveryTrail - Find the best Hiking near St. George, Utah


 Basics:
Area - Snow Canyon State Park (near St. George Utah)
Trails - Hidden Pinyon, Three Ponds, Whiptail (see map)
Length - 1.5 miles roundtrip
Duration: 60 mins ~ 90 hours (round-trip)
Trail - Mix of Sand, Dirt, Sandstone trail surface
Bikes - No bikes allowed
View - Great views
Getting There - Snow Canyon Road from Ivins or Highway 18 from St George. Look for the parking lot near the Three Ponds trailhead.
Fee- $6 per car
Weather - Some shade in the small canyons, otherwise in the open under the sun
Other Info - You will need a car to reach this trailhead within the park.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Event: WTA Open House



Washington Trails Association is holding an open house to celebrate another great year on trail, and you're invited! We hope you can join us in our downtown Seattle office on Thursday, January 24, from 5pm to 7pm.

We are eager to share with you some of our favorite accomplishments from 2012 and our strategic priorities for the next two years. At the open house, we'll also be unveiling our backcountry and Volunteer Vacation destinations for adults and youth, as well giving you the inside scoop on some of our favorite winter hikes.

We would love for you to join us in toasting the year ahead. Come out and talk with the staff and board.

Light hors d'oeuvres and beverages will be served.

PleaseRSVP here.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Motion - The best hiking (related) TV show










Motion is a great show that features (mainly) hiking spots around the US (even some in the Caribbean). The show started out covering hikes around Northern California - but has really expanded to cover everything from Alaska to Hawaii to upstate New York and even the US Virgin Islands.

The show has amazing video of great views, waterfalls and vistas from a number of Western US locations - including the Olympic Peninsula, Big Island of Hawaii and Kenai Fjords Glacier

Unlike most outdoor shows on TV, Motion does a really great job of showing the hiking route as well as providing some tips on accessing the trail. While other shows can gloss over the details the host, Greg Aiello does a nice job of providing some really useful hiking information.

This is the best hiking show on TV in my book. The format is informative and inspiring - without getting too fluffy or preachy. Recent episodes have even featured "fans" of the show joining Greg on some of the best hikes around the US.

For those that have seen the show, be sure to catch the Behind the Scenes episode!

Congrats to Greg and his brother for the shows continues success over the years (I first found it in 2008!) and keeping it true to hiking and enjoying the outdoors. 

Motion is carried on the LiveWell Network:

Bay Area -  HD channel 7.2/ Comcast 715
Seattle Area - HD channel 5.3/ Comcast 115

You can watch most episodes online at the Motion page of Livewellnetwork.com

A scene from Yosemite Falls - Over the Edge




rev Dec 2012