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Cougar Mountain Red Town Loop



5.1 mile 8.3 kilometer loop
91% Runnable


Ascent: 690' 210 m
Descent: -676' -206 m
High: 1,278' 390 m
Low: 676' 206 m


Avg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 33% (18°)


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Trail shared by Mark Seidl

This well-maintained rolling loop is a treat just minutes from Seattle.

Mark Seidl

Features Cave · Waterfall · Wildlife


This is a great 5-mile loop that is easily accessible and well-maintained.

Runner Notes

You should get a map (as there are many trails that shoot off in all directions) or use the Trail Run Project mobile app. Take a wrong turn, and you could make a 5 mile run into a 10 miler (probably good for us). Maps can be downloaded here.


This is a favorite run that I frequent as it is close to Seattle, has diverse terrain, a challenging hill, and great scenery. It is also the perfect trail to take dogs on as you rarely see people beyond the 1 mile mark from the trailhead.

The loop starts out with a climb on the Cave Hole Trail. This doubletrack trail leaves the Red Town Trail on a slow, steady climb up Cougar Mountain. There are old mining caves in several spots along the trail. The larger of the caves are barricaded and have warning signs around them about the risk of falling or poisonous gasses coming from the ground. Be cautious with small children in these areas. The lush forest growth gives the trail a magical quality as it traverses rocks and exposed roots.

Near the end of the Cave Hole Trail, use the short Bypass Trail to connect to Fred's Railroad Trail. From here, it is a short, gradual downhill to connect to the Shy Bear Trail, a rolling trail that trends downhill for its length to connect you with the Indian Trail. From here, the trail levels out and you have a flat to slightly uphill run back to the Red Town Trail and the Red Town Trailhead.

Flora & Fauna

This area was logged in the early days but has since grown back with classic flora and fauna. On rare occasions, it is possible to see black bears, but they tend to keep to themselves. Cougars have been sighted, but I have never seen one. Beyond these oddities, the rest is unsurprising.

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Sep 29, 2019
Shu Zhang
Sep 29, 2019
Kinga Kimbrel
5.1mi — 1h 03m
Aug 8, 2019
Jeremy Parker
Typical PNW feel. Soft pack, crazy pretty 5.1mi — 1h 01m
Jul 28, 2019
Barry Leff
Jun 16, 2019
Jeremy Vazquez
Hills hills, lost , oh wait more hills 5.5mi
Jun 15, 2019
Amy Lee
Jun 14, 2019
Caitlin Duffy
Jun 1, 2019
Diana Salazar
5.5mi — 1h 17m

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 31 votes


  4.4 from 31 votes
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in Washington


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8,575 Since Mar 3, 2017



The start of your loop on the Cave Hole Trail is complete with plenty of tall, beautiful trees.
Jun 6, 2017 near Newcastle, WA
Bridge on Shy Bear Trail
Jun 17, 2015 near East Re…, WA
Lots of lush foliage surrounds the Shy Bear Trail.
Jun 6, 2017 near East Re…, WA
The moss is pretty impressive!
May 24, 2017 near Newcastle, WA
Red Town Loop is full of interesting little trailside things, such as this quote from Henry Ford.
Mar 12, 2018 near Newcastle, WA
Just a little trailside blossom
Aug 5, 2018 near Newcastle, WA

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