May Creek Trail - Newcastle
May 01, 2012
- Type of Outing
- Day hike
I started my walk at the west end of the trail, that starts in a tiny park squeezed between two houses on SE 93rd Street. The trail drops down some steps into the deep forested valley of May Creek. After a short traverse, the trail reaches the old railroad grade, which crossed the valley on a long-gone trestle bridge.
Here, note a steep, rough user trail heading down the slope toward the creek. This path can be used to access the Honey Dew Creek valley in Renton, but crossing May Creek is tricky. I think there is a plan to put in a better trail here in the future.
The May Creek Trail continues heading east along the edge of the valley, the soft rush of mighty May Creek coming up from below. May Creek is the third largest tributary of Lake Washington, and can have an impressive flow of water in winter. After 0.8 miles from its start, the trail arrives at Sylvan Creek's small ravine, which it crosses on a fill. Just beyond the creek is a house with a horse paddock; the trail passes to the right of the house, then reenters forest.
Still following the old RR grade, the trail reaches a grassy strip, the Waterline Trail, about a half mile from Sylvan Creek. Just before the Waterline Trail, look for a trail branching off right toward May Creek. This is the newly-built continuation of the May Creek Trail. The path descends on newly built switchbacks down to the lushly vegetated floor of May Creek's valley. Part way down is the shell of an rusty old van (1950s vintage perhaps) that has been turned into a display of sorts, complete with protective fence.
The Newcastle Trails Club has been hard at work building this part of the trail, and though not completely finished, the path is quite hikeable. Some sections of tread are still narrow, and there is a muddy stretch that will need some sort of structure to cross it.
The trail comes quite close to the rushing waters of May Creek, a pleasant spot to rest for a bit, then after crossing a big, brand-new bridge over Lake Boren Creek, it gradually climbs to meet Coal Creek Parkway near the May Creek Road intersection.
Walking the whole length of the May Creek Trail and back covers about 3.5 miles. If you want more exercise, you can cross Coal Creek Parkway and head into "The Highlands" development, where there is a network of greenbelt trails (shown on the Cougar Mtn Green Trails map). Above The Highlands, you can continue hiking on the Terrace Trail and head into Cougar Mountain Park itself.