Saturday, February 12, 2011

Winter Wallace Falls hike on a beautiful day!

On Wednesday of this last week (February 9, 2011) we went to Wallace Falls State Park and hiked to the upper falls. This is a great 5.5 - 6 mile round trip hike if you follow the woody trail that follows the river. If you opt for the railroad grade trail which is a flat and straight you add another mile each direction. We followed the woody trail both ways and enjoyed the sights and sounds of the river along the way. There were birds out along the trail; I didn't see any, but heard lots of them. The sun was out the whole way and it was so nice to hike on a sunny day and not overheat! There were 3 families with 2 boys each, so there was plenty of energy and running on the trail...especially on the downhill parts! There were a few muddy spots on the trail and the boardwalk areas were slippery, so be careful. This makes a great hike any time of the year!
At the trailhead...just starting out.

The trail is about 45 minutes from North Everett. You get on Highway 2 going east and follow it until you get into Gold Bar and then follow the signs for Wallace Falls State Park - it will be a left turn off hwy 2 as you are heading east. The rest of the way is well signed, so just continue to follow the signs to Wallace Falls State Park. Park in the parking lot, as the Wallace Falls Trail starts from there. Water and bathrooms (with flush toilets :) are available at the trailhead! 
The first part of the trail....
Follow the trail out of the parking lot until you get to the signs that direct you to the woody trail or the railroad grade trail.....both will take you to the falls, just remember that the railroad grade will add approx. 1 mile to your hike each direction that you take.
Here is the cutoff to the woody trail...this keeps
the bikes off the woody trail and only on
the railroad grade trail where they are
There are lots of benches along the trail that you can stop and rest on. A short way into the woody trail there is a sign for Small Falls. If you follow the trail to the left you can see the falls and take a short loop trail where the boys scouts have put in a small amphitheater.

Small Falls
 Check out the carving of a fish that someone made out of a tree stump along this loop.

Fish carving on Small Falls loop
After you are done checking out Small Falls, head back out to the main trail and continue up to the lower falls. 

One of a couple of bridges on the trail.
A bench looking out over the river....check out
the sunshine!
Crossing another bridge and ready for lunch!
The kids were ready for lunch five
minutes into the hike!
Another view of the river...

There is a nice covered picnic area at the lower falls with tables and a viewing area of the falls. If you have smaller children or are ready to quit here....this makes a great hike by itself! 

Lower Falls

We always eat our lunch at the picnic area here. If you have more energy or are just itching to check out the rest of the falls, continue on up the trail. The trail is steeper from this point on with lots of switchbacks, but it is well worth it in my opinion. There are several lookouts along the way with stops for the Middle Falls and one last stop for the Upper Falls, both of these are signed, so you will know when you get there. 
One of the views of the falls...

All the boys posing at one of the lookouts!

Another lookout....
This was at Upper Falls....the breeze started blowing the mist
from the falls over my head and I caught it in the sunlight!

View of the snowline from one of the lookouts.

Sitting on a bench enjoying one of the lookouts.

I happened to stop and look up while I was walking and
thought it was a nice I'm sharing it with you!

Middle Falls

View from the beginning (or end) of the trail....

Don't miss any of the lookouts along the way as each one offers a different view including a lovely lookout where you can see for miles if the weather is clear. The trail does continue on past the Upper Falls, with a warning not to continue unless you know where you are going. I would advise the same. The trail gets rougher from here and would take some good navigation skills to continue. There is a story on an information board at the Upper Falls about two women who continued on and were lost for 48 hours before search and rescue found them. 
Posing at the information board at Upper Falls. Some people's
children pose more than others....who do those kids belong to?
It's a good reminder to be prepared when you are hiking anywhere and to make sure you know where you are going! Washington Trails Association has excellent hiking preparation information, so make sure you are prepared next time you go!
I took this as we were leaving Gold Bar....I just thought it
was too pretty to pass up!


  1. The pictures look great! It was a fun hike. Looking forward to the next sunny day. :)

  2. We are too! Donovan asks every day...."When are we going hiking again?" :-D

  3. Wow - what an amazing place to hike at! Those are some spectacular views!
    (here from Mothering's blog link post on FB)

  4. Thanks h! Hiking in Washington is wonderful!