Wallace Falls –A classic series of falls and classic hike, fun for all

The Middle Falls are the most impressive of the Wallace Falls.

The Middle Falls are the most impressive of the Wallace Falls.

Quick Facts

Location: SkykomishRiver Valley

Land Agency: Washington State Parks

Roundtrip: 5.5 miles

Elevation gain: 1,200 feet

Green Trails Map: Index, WA-No. 142

Contact: Wallace Falls State Park 

Notes: Discover Pass required; Dogs must be leashed

Access: From Everett follow US 2 for 28 miles east to Gold Bar. Just before Milepost 28 turn left onto 1st Street (signed for Wallace Falls State Park). Proceed for .4 mile to a four way stop. Turn right onto May Creek Road and continue for 1.5 miles to Wallace Falls State Park and trailhead.

Good to Know: kid-friendly, dog-friendly, snow free winter hike

Consisting of nine separate cascades, the tallest at an impressive 265 feet, Wallace Falls is absolutely spectacular and one of the best known and loved set of cataracts in the Evergreen State. Visit them on a sunny summer or fall weekend and expect plenty of company. But head here in winter or on a spring weekday and the crowds thin.  And while these falls are grand any time of year, they are stunning during and after the rainy periods when the Wallace River swells.

The way begins on a high voltage line right-of-way. After a .25 mile enter forest and soon come to a junction.  Left heads to the falls utilizing an

The hike along the Wallace River to the falls has its scenic delights, too.

The hike along the Wallace River to the falls has its scenic delights, too.

old logging railroad grade. It makes for a nice loop option adding about a mile and is best done on the return taking advantage of a gentle descent.

Head right on the Woody Trail through dark and dank forest dropping down to river’s edge. A short side trail branches off left to a pretty series of small cataracts. The big tumbles are still ahead. Under colonnades of moss-shrouded trees continue beside the roiling river. Benches provide spots for contemplation.

Now pulling away from the river the trail begins to climb. At a little over a mile a short side trail veers steeply left to connect with the railroad grade trail. Continue straight remaining high above the raucous river. At 1.4 miles, come to a junction. Left heads to the Railroad Grade Trail (a return option) and the Greg Ball Trail to Wallace Lake.

Proceed straight dropping to cross the North Fork Wallace River and then begin a short and steep climb to the Lower Falls Viewpoint and Picnic Shelter. A pretty sight but what probably caught your attention was the much bigger falls in the distance. At 2.2 miles reach the view point for the Middle Falls. At 265 feet, they are the park’s highest, the ones you can see from US 2, and one of the most impressive hydrological shows in the state.

The Upper Falls are another half mile beyond. Not quite as impressive, they are still worth the 500 feet climb to get to them. En route be sure to stop at the ledge top overlook above the Middle Falls for a sweeping view of the Skykomish River Valley and out to the Olympic Mountains.  Contemplate combing this hike with Wallace Lake by continuing straight, or return the way you came.

For information on lodging and other attractions near Wallace Falls visit www.snohomish.org

For more information on this hike and 124 others in the region, consult my Day Hiking Central Cascades 

125 hikes from Everett to Wenatchee!

125 hikes from Everett to Wenatchee!

 

 

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