60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Seattle: Including Bellevue, Everett, and Tacoma

60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Seattle: Including Bellevue, Everett, and Tacoma

by Bryce Stevens, Andrew Weber

Hardcover(3rd ed.)

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Overview

It's been 10 years since the release of the first edition of 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Seattle, which makes 2016's third edition the 10th Anniversary Edition! This popular hiking guide has been completely updated by authors Andrew Weber and Bryce Stevens for this new release, featuring three all-new hikes: Evans Creek Preserve, Mount Teneriffe and Teneriffe Falls, and Greider Lakes. Brand-new header info for all 60 hikes includes vital information on hiking with dogs.

There is also updated trail information, text, maps, and/or photos, etc., for such hikes as Iron Goat Trail, Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, Dirty Harry's Peak, Flaming Geyser State Park, Mailbox Peak, Franklin Falls, and many others. In addition, the book covers Washington State's two newest Wilderness Areas, Wild Sky Wilderness (established 2008) and Alpine Lakes Wilderness (expanded in 2014).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781634041768
Publisher: Menasha Ridge Press
Publication date: 11/01/2017
Series: 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles
Edition description: 3rd ed.
Pages: 346
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

Read an Excerpt

FRANKLIN FALLS AND OLD SNOQUALMIE PASS WAGON ROAD

  • DISTANCE & CONFIGURATION: 2.0-mile loop
  • DIFFICULTY: Easy
  • SCENERY: Franklin Falls and the picturesque South Fork Snoqualmie River Gorge, old-growth forest, a walk along a historical wagon route
  • EXPOSURE: Shaded
  • TRAFFIC: Get an early start to beat crowds and get parking.
  • TRAIL SURFACE: Dirt (well-maintained with steps and bridges)
  • HIKING TIME: 1–2 hours
  • ACCESS: Hikable late spring–fall; NW Forest Pass required for parking
  • WHEELCHAIR TRAVERSABLE: No
  • MAP(S): Green Trails Snoqualmie Pass 207; USGS Snoqualmie Pass
  • FACILITIES: No facilities at trailhead; Denny Creek Campground has toilets and water
  • DOGS: Allowed on-leash
  • CONTACT: 425-888-1421; www.fs.usda .gov/recarea/mbs/recreation /recarea/firecid=17980
  • LOCATION: North Bend

IN BRIEF

The trail to Franklin Falls combines history and natural beauty along a compact and easily accessible loop. A visit to the falls makes for a particularly enjoyable half-day’s outing for anyone who wants to explore the Snoqualmie Pass region but isn’t looking for a demanding mountain hike.

DESCRIPTION

It sounds like a joke or the effects of some terrible flood: a scenic waterfall in the middle of I-90—not off to the side somewhere or even visible from the pavement but right in the center—with traffic driving by on either side. Yet this improbable juxtaposition of natural and man-made elements is found just west of Snoqualmie Pass, where the two directions of I-90 are split. More than 25,000 people pass within 0.25 mile of Franklin Falls every day, and most would never guess that it is there. Amazingly, an old-growth forest still hangs on in the area as well, seemingly oblivious to the cars and trucks humming overhead.

Long before there was an I-90, however, human traffic passed much closer to the falls on the Old Snoqualmie Wagon Road, developed by pioneers heading west toward Seattle. Without the miracles of modern engineering that elevate the current roadway, the horse-drawn wagons had to stay at the bottom of the valley on their arduous journey through the mountains. The road often amounted to little more than two wheel-worn ruts in the mud. Nonetheless, it was the primary route across the Central Washington Cascades.

Unlike the cars on the interstate, today’s hikers tend to travel at a pace similar to that of the pioneers, which makes the former site of the Wagon Road a great place to explore the natural beauty and history of the area on foot.

At the Franklin Falls Trailhead, the correct trail is signed as Franklin Falls Trail No. 1036. The return for the 2-mile loop is on the other side of the junction where Forest Route 5830 branches off FR 58.

The hike starts out heading northeast along the South Fork Snoqualmie River. The water is clear with a greenish tinge, and runs fast through a mix of gray and reddish rocks. There are plenty of good places to stop and dip your toes in the rushing water, including a polished-rock chute in an exposed slab that could double as a water slide a short distance upstream. There is even a small sandy beach on the bank and a pool at the bottom when the river is low.

The trail is wide and easy to follow, with some private rustic cabins visible on either side of the river. Old-growth stands of western red cedar, western hemlock, and Douglas fir appear in the forest to the right, displaying some truly outstanding giant specimens. An epic cedar with a circumference easily 20 feet or more stands watch at the bottom of a set of wooden stairs.

The stairs ascend the bank as the river quickly drops away into a narrow gorge on the left, guarded by a wooden safety fence on the rim. More seemingly good swimming holes appear below, but they are unreachable at the bottom of the sheer rock walls. Various tributary streams flow into the river, including Denny Creek on the far side (although it is difficult to spot through the trees).

In just under a mile, a trail joins from the right at a junction, the start of the Old Snoqualmie Wagon Road and the return route on the second half of the loop. Stay straight ahead along the fence for another 0.1 mile to reach the splendor of Franklin Falls, where the river pours over a 70-foot cliff into a natural amphitheater of black and reddish rocks, misting everything nearby and making the trail muddy and slippery. The westbound lanes of I-90 cross overhead on a bridge to the left, clearly visible above. When the river is low, it is possible to explore the riverbed by walking on the rocks.

Return to the previous junction and turn onto the Old Wagon Road. Surprisingly, although the falls tend to attract considerable crowds, many hikers return the way they came, ignoring the simple loop option. The 1-mile descent back to the trailhead is pleasant and comfortable, with a spongy and forgiving surface of decaying wood underfoot that is easy on the joints. The perspective on the forest is different as well, with the river mostly out of sight.

Hard evidence of the old road is well hidden, and only the most diligent or lucky observer is likely to find anything specific to mark the pioneers’ passing. It is difficult enough to even imagine covered wagons making it through the mud and trees of the forest. Not so well hidden, however, is the modern, paved FR 58, which must be crossed several times along the way. At each intersection, look for an inconspicuous wooden post on the opposite side to show the continuation of the trail, usually within 10 yards to the left or right.

The end of the Old Wagon Road returns you to the junction of FR 58 and FR 5830, as mentioned earlier, where it is a short walk across the parking lot back to your vehicle.

NEARBY ACTIVITIES

From the parking area, you can hike to two good waterfalls on Denny Creek Trail, which starts from the end of FR 5830: Keekwulee Falls is about 2 miles up the trail, and Snowshoe Falls is another 0.25 mile beyond.

GPS TRAILHEAD COORDINATES

N47° 24.79' W121° 26.535'

From I-90, take Exit 47 for Denny Creek–Asahel Curtis, and head north. At the T-intersection in 0.1 mile, turn right onto Forest Route 9034. In 0.3 mile, turn left onto FR 58 toward Denny Creek. In 2.3 miles, turn left onto FR 5830 toward the Denny Creek and Melakwa Lake Trail. Just before the bridge over the river, you’ll find the trailhead for Franklin Falls Trail on the right. Park anywhere along FR 5830 near the trailhead, or drive to the end of FR 5830 for additional parking spots.

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