2020 has been crazy for everyone. When quarantine started, I did not went anywhere. But now in July, i have started going out a bit. Today, we went to Franklin Falls which is just 40 minute drive from Seattle and it is a perfect hike for kids and adults alike. It is easy and fun.
When we reached, Immediately we were greeted by the bubbling South Fork Snoqualmie River, which we followed up to Franklin Falls. For the first quarter mile or so, the trail hugs the river, and we periodically left the trail to walk on the rocks or throw rocks in the river.
Because this trail is so close to Seattle and so popular, it’s in fantastic shape. The trail is well groomed, well graded, and the crushed gravel path meant it was mud free, even though it rained the entire time.
While most of the trail is easy & well-groomed, the last minute or two down to the base of the falls is a little dangerous. The crushed gravel path gives way to jagged, angled rocks, which can be quite slippery in the rain.
BEFORE YOU GO
1. Discover Pass – Before going, make sure you have a Discover Pass . There is no way to buy one on-site, and due to the popularity, the lot is patrolled. You can print out a one-day pass for $5
2. Trip reports – Check out the Washington Trails Association page for info. Scroll to the bottom to see recent trip reports: https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/franklin-falls. There are no restroom facilities at the Franklin Falls trailhead, but there is a sanican at the Denny Creek trailhead, a quarter mile down the road. The Denny Creek Trail is also family-friendly. Since the areas are so close, you may be interested in checking out recent Denny Creek trail reports too. This can be particularly helpful if you’re trying to gauge road or bug conditions and there aren’t any really recent reports for Franklin Falls: https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/denny-creek
3. What to bring – This changes with the seasons, but for the winter & early spring, bring layers, gloves, and some TP in addition to snacks & water. On some trails I have us wear rain boots, if I know it’ll be muddy. Sometimes I make sure we have lace-up boots, if I know we’ll be on uneven terrain. Because the last minute or two of this hike is over slick rocks, I think that having shoes with good traction, like sneakers, is the best option (or good hiking boots with traction if you have them.) Also, because you may or may not have to wade into a small river at the base of the falls, I recommend packing a change of dry socks & pants for the car ride home.
4. Cell service available – Since this is right off of I-90, cell service is generally available. It’s always a good idea to have a map downloaded to your phone before you go, just in case.