Looking back on all the hikes I have done over the years and I can say I have hiked Wallace Falls in all seasons. Strange to think that it is the primary hike that I have done with others. This past March I hiked this very same trail with Megan for her college geography project. I have hiked it in the middle of winter with the rain pouring down, in the middle of a hot summer
with lots of people crowding the trails, in the early spring with snow still on the ground and now early fall with all the trees peppered with fall blowing in the breeze. I think I need to find a new favorite hiking trail after this.
Our adventure started out with a detour that ended up taking us through the back country roads because as I found out last-minute SR-522 was closed for bridge construction. The drive ended up putting an extra thirty minutes to our already hour-long drive. Once we go there, there were lots of people starting out for the rail head in the parking lot and the weather looked like the rain was going to hold out. Another disappointment while hiking was the closed Rail Road Grade trail, so we had to hike the Woody Trail instead to get to the Upper Falls of Wallace Falls. The problems did not stop there, at the beginning of the hike my water bladder line leaked all over the front of my shirt resulting in me finishing the hike with my tank top (thank goodness for that!) and I started to over heat from all the exertion. Since hiking this trail many of times before, you would think I never have a problem. Wrong! Apparently the trail was more difficult this time around then the last three times. I felt half way through I was going to die from all the exertion I had to put forth to get over tree roots, and lift myself up to reach high steps on the stair parts of the hike. Michael realized how vertically challenged I am when it comes to certain heights and had to in the last bit of the hike hoist me up so I could get up the trail.
Apparently I have thought the Valley Over Look was the upper falls part of the hike. I was surprised to find that I had not made it to Upper Falls before. So we trudged up the steep switched backs to the Upper Falls area. When we got up to the falls, of my goodness! I have to say I missed out all those time when I didn’t make it up. The falls were beautiful.
The hike going down was not as bad except the last stretch where the stairs came back! But over all I’m glade I made it finally to Upper Falls of Wallace Falls. Took us both 3 1/2 hours round a trip to hike the trail. I think next time I will aim to hike further up to Wallace Lake using the Rail Road Grade trail when it reopens again next summer. The trail is popular, but not as popular as Rattle Snake Ridge trail (believe me, people who have gone said it is very crowed in the day, and so go as early as possible for Rattle Snake!) and since it was free entry day for national and state parks, there were a little more people this time.
2014: Geological Hike
I have been Wallace Falls a few times and each time it has been a different season. In the past I have blogged about my trip up with a great friend of mine and this time we both went again for a geology project she was doing for her geology class in college. The point of the trip was to hike up to the falls and take picture of her standing next to or near geological important markers for comparison in size. We decide to do it at Wallace Falls since it is an easier place to access and one of the few state/national parks open for visitors this time of the year.
The adventure started at 7am in the morning with a forty-five minute car trip up past Gold Bar on the way to Steven’s Pass. When we left the Seattle area that morning, there was a little bit of sun starting to peek out from the clouds. By the time we reached the Gold Bar, there was rain and snow mixed coming down. The last two times I have been it was the middle of summer in 80 degree heat, and the other time in the fall where it was raining. This time I hiked with snow coming down! We started out on the trail as the only people hiking up there on a Monday morning. By the time we were heading out, more people started to show up. For our hiking adventure we decided to be safe and hike the Railroad Grade part of the trail instead of the Scenic River trail because as we were driving up, the Skyhomish River is currently running very high on its banks, and some parts of the river are flooded or in flood warning. We started out with a few flurries of snow coming down between the trees. By the time we were half way to the Wallace Falls Lake, the snow was coming down in big flurries and at that point we both thought it would be better to turn back for safely reasons. Hiking up in the snow was a peaceful and tranquil experience. Hearing the sound of the water in the distance rushing down the side of the mountain, and hearing the gurgling of the small streams running down towards the river below. My friend and I kept think why we did not bring our nice DSLs with us for the beautiful snow shots. The trail had a lot of running water, puddles and soft gooey mossy mud. I am so glad for great sturdy hiking boots! I will admit the hike was wet and cold since we did hike it in early spring. So there is no surprise with snow and large amounts of water along the way. At some point, trees made parts of the trail bare to snow, and some parts of the trail started to see accumulation. Thank goodness we did not have to plow through the snow!
Every so often we would stop and take a picture of something along the trail to mark the geological timeline of Wallace Falls. This would be anything from tree trucks, boulders, puddles where water over time accumulated, rock walls, large rotting tree trucks, and the falls themselves. I took a total of ten pictures of my friend standing next to all of theses things (except the falls, that would have been very dangerous!). As we traveled along there were sections of the trail were the falls/river could be seen, below you could see the massive amount of water coming off it was very impressive. I would so not want to be swept away by the sheer force of all that water.
It took a total of two and a half hours to hike up, and back. The total amount of miles we hiked was about four miles, with it being two and half miles both ways. I really like the Railroad Grade trial better than the Scenic one. The elevation up was not a killer, and being short, I don’t have to climb up stuff just to go further along the trail. So hiking Wallace Falls in early spring in not as bad, but being prepared for possible snow is a factor everyone should note. Plus it is that time of the year where there could be bears coming out of hibernation. We were luck to not run into one along the way. Thank God for that!
Hiking through the woods to Wallace Falls was one of the best hikes so far this year I have been on. I have been planning on doing at least one major hike by the end of the summer, and just needed someone willing to go for a whole day. My friend Megan and I headed out to hike this wonderful trail outside the small railroad town of Gold Bar WA. This hike is around three-hour at least if you are going up to the Middle Falls part, with the hike at around a medium endurance level. This endurance level, you will need to carry a water bottle with you so you don’t get stuck without some hydration.
We started out on a gray morning in Shoreline WA with the possibility of rain (Seattle- what do you expect). I was the driver for this trip this time since I have a Discover Pass needed for parking at the trail head. I have not driven out to Gold Bar in a very long time, and when I saw it again, lots of memories started flooding back again. Some were bitter-sweet, and some bitter at the same time. When we started out, there was some sun, but still had clouds in the sky. Silly me had a rain coat on when I started out. I ended up having to take it off around one mile into the hike because I was becoming very hot. I will admit, this hike kicked my butt with having me stopped when the stairs became too much. Megan being tall, had no problem with the hike, well-being short like myself, I have to exert more energy to keep up.We made it to the top off the falls in no time. Drench in sweat and knowing this was the best workout ever, we both where very happy with how much this felt to both of us. The sun did come out making the forest glow a greenish tint on the way back down from the falls. While up at the falls eating a power bar a small squirrel was trying to climb up Megan’s leg to get a hold of her peanut bar in her hand. The poor creature wanted to have a piece of our bar for burying.
Will I do this again? Heck yeah I would! I would like to go hiking and fishing at the same time too. I know I need to work out more due to now having my butt muscles hurting as I write this.