Urban Walk - Coal Creek Natural Area


Urban Walk - Coal Creek Natural Area

Explore in a new way. Geocaching is real-world treasure hunting. Connect with the outdoors, practice navigation skills using a smartphone app & solve clever clues to find caches (containers hidden by others). This trip is the first for the Mountaineers & learning trip for both participants & leaders. GEOCACHING EXPERIENCE NOT REQUIRED. Participants will provide feedback to shape future Urban Walks with Geocaching. Please read Leader’s Notes.

  • Easy, *Varies*
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 4.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 800 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 600 ft
  • Pace: 1.5 mph avg moving pace when on trail; pace much slower or nil when searching for geocaches
  • 9:30am Ready to hike @ Coal Creek Natural Area parking lot, (Google map link).  This also the location of the “Upper Coal Creek Trail West Trailhead” which can be found using those exact words in a driving app. IMPORTANT: If arriving from southbound Coal Creek Parkway SE, there’s no left turn into the parking lot. You will need to proceed further south and turn right at the next stoplight (SE 60th St) to find a safe turnaround location; then, return to the same stoplight at Coal Crk Pkwy, turn northbound and make right-hand turn into the parking lot. During our scouting trip, it appears that due to this “no left turn” issue, some driving apps will take you in a huge, out-of-the-way loop. Instead, it’s easiest to go to SE 60th St and find a safe place to turn around.
  • Route - https://www.gaiagps.com/public/7tyGls4Uw3XfyX4gj9Wm1Ege/
  • Weather - Link to NWS forecast https://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lon=-122.16691303043626&lat=47.55327225557281
  • This is a learning trip for leaders to gather participants’ feedback to improve future Urban Walks with geocaching. While there will be several miles of walking, the geocaching aspect of the walk is the main focus. There will likely be a lot of discussion time. Plan up to 4.5 hours. Please be comfortable with this approach.
  • We will be walking on developed trails in a Bellevue city park. Street crossings are thru under-street tunnels.
  • Experience walking on trails with elevation gain is required. The trail includes stairs and switchbacks. In one place, the trail is narrow. NOTE: Leader will be screening participants' experience in this regard.
  • Searching for one of the geocaches requires stepping off the trail and encountering undergrowth, but will also follows the Mountaineers Urban Walk Standards. Please be able and comfortable with being off-trail as described in the Urban Walk Standards.
  • Bellevue city guidelines for geocaching (LINK)
  • Pre-trip, expect contact from leaders to verify you’re prepared with required equipment & know what to expect on this trip. Required equipment is listed in the “Required Equipment” tab.
  • This hike will be canceled if there’s heavy rain or hazardous conditions.

Coal Creek Natural Area

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

  • Trail shoes with grippy soles appropriate for walking safely uphill and downhill on maintained trails, as well as stepping off-trail
  • Long pants and long-sleeved shirt appropriate for encountering leafy shrubs
  • Smartphone with GPS capability
  • Geocaching mobile app downloaded to your smartphone (https://www.geocaching.com/play/mobile) Requires creating user account. RECOMMENDATION: Pick a short username. You’ll be signing this name on a sometimes tiny log in a cache to register your find.
  • Mapping mobile app downloaded to your smartphone. App must show both roads and trails, such as Gaia GPS or AllTrails. Google maps does not show all the trails; so, is not appropriate for this activity.
  • Pen for writing your username on the geocaching log.
  • Geocachiing.com website bookmarked on your smartphone browser. Optional, but very helpful. (here's the page to bookmark - https://www.geocaching.com/play/search)
  • Optional – watch this 45 second video, “What is Geocaching?” There are more than 3 million active geocaches worldwide. Geocaches are hidden in 191 different countries on all seven continents (even Antarctica)!
  • Optional – watch this 3 minute video, “What is Geocaching?” Shows geocaching in urban & suburban locations, as well as types of cache containers.
  • Optional – see pictures of creative cache containers

Urban Walk essentials

  • Navigation - paper map or phone app or compass, whistle
  • Sun/Weather protection
  • First Aid - Red Cross style, focus blister & cuts/scrapes
  • Repair kit - knife (shoe or gear repair)
  • Food - at least a snack
  • Water - some water, more if it's hot
  • Extra clothing – as needed for conditions
  • Day Pack - large enough to carry or stow clothing and carry water & snacks
Trip Reports