726 - Franklin Falls Trail

Kelsey and mom at hike start pointAileen found this hike listed in Joan Burton’s book Best Hikes With Kids: Western Washington & the Cascades. It was an amazing hike, and offered the kids a few challenges which they gobbled up.

We started the day at the Denny Creek Campground, and messed up a bit. Apparently, just about 200 yards from the campground is the Denny Creek Trailhead. The official starting point for this hike. We drove out to the road to follow the directions in the book and they took us past it and up the hill (the book says left onto the paved road after the campground, but it looks to be graveled now…) We went up and up and ended up at the I-90 exit 53 intersection (an apparent backway to the Summit at Snoqualmie if you need one). At that point we realized our mistake and turned around.

Looking west about 3/4 of the way to the fallsInstead of heading back to the first trailhead, we parked where the trail confluences Forest Road 5880 and pulled off. We started there and went onwards to the falls. This trail is well maintained and looks like some serious love keeps it in shape. Another great reason to support the WTA.

It is windy and up hill, but not a serious grade. The challenge comes at the end when the kids get to play mountain goat and wind their way around the end of the hill on a rockface downwards to the base of the falls and level with Denny Creek. At this time of year, one can skip across the river without getting wet if they take the time to balance over. I was able to get there, even with Bailey tugging at me, but the kids asked for and got the little extra help they needed.

A nice lunch later and we started back. Bailey and I went ahead. Actually, I went ahead and when the trail was clear Aileen let Bailey go and he bounded up the rocks towards me. Much easier when you have an energetic dog than to try to have him drag up the rockface. We kept going towards the car.

A pretty sweet treat hit us almost the whole way back to the car. Seattle Mountain Rescue was doing a training exercise and I got to talk to a few of the Explorer Search & Rescue folks that were there training up. They had a rope line across the gully and were sending people out and down for practice traversing into canyons from above.

Bailey and I got back to the car and I got him some water. After that I headed back in to meet up with the girls and we stopped off at the S&R folks again so Kelsey could watch. Back to the car and the girls got tired and hopped in with mom. I continued on foot and finished off the portion of the trail we inadvertently skipped, and then just continued on to the campground.

Next time we do this, we’ll have to do the whole thing from the campground and leave the car there. The hike between the Denny Creek Trailhead and where we parked was almost more fun than the part we did hike. Maybe we’ll hit the water slides next weekend if its warm… :)

Franklin Falls

Trip total trail miles: 1.71
Hike-A-Thon total: 2.97

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