This is a great 5-mile loop that is easily accessible and well-maintained.
Features: Cave — Waterfall — Wildlife
This is a favorite hike 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 hike back to the Red Town Trail
and the Red Town Trailhead.
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.