Nestled within the Snoqualmie National Forest, a surprisingly short distance away from the hustle and bustle of the Seattle area, are the spectacular Wallace Falls. The journey out of the city itself is gorgeous. Towering pines, spruces, and firs line the highway making not only the road but also yourself feel so small compared to the sheer greatness of the nature surrounding you. A side road off the main highway takes you through the tiny town of Gold Bar where the trees begin to thin as we pulled into the makeshift parking lot. One of my favorite elements of Washington is the myriad of potential hiking trails in any given area. The large map at the beginning of the trail details dozens of possible trails one could take along the falls and throughout their section of forest.
As a relatively unexperienced group of hikers, my family and I opted to take the road most traveled – and easiest. The venture to the trail head felt as if we were walking within a scene from the Jurassic Park film franchise without any carnivorous Cretaceous creatures chasing us. Once at the trail head, a quaint wood carved sign greeted us with a lovely Wordsworth quote, “come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher”, surely words for all of us to live by. The richness and depth in the varying shades of green throughout the hike was awe-inspiring; you could practically feel the energy and life pulsing through the air as you moved through the tranquil forest.
Washington state is built for the outdoor adventurer which shows through when it comes to their creation of hiking trails. Fallen timber has been salvaged and utilized to create east steps and foothold along the trail that parallels the Falls’ stream. The Falls themselves are broken into three levels with the hike progressively becoming more and more strenuous the farther up you climb; switchbacks become more frequent and the height of each step progressively increases. While we didn’t make it to the top of the falls, the midpoint vista showcased both the top and the middle levels and did not disappoint in the least! Absolutely breathtaking!
In total, we climbed a little over 1000 feet along four and a half miles, for the unexperienced or minimally experienced the hike will take anywhere between two and a half to three hours. If you’re visiting the Seattle area during the summer and want a quick escape from the commotion of the big city that provides gorgeous scenery definitely check out Wallace Falls – you will not be disappointed!