Out & About: Franklin Falls
Those final days of summer were ticking by and I was itching to cross at least one more new adventure off my bucket list. After seeing a string of other PNW mamma’s photos at Franklin Falls (Snoqualmie, WA) on Instagram over the last few weeks, I made it our immediate priority to get there with the kids.
These short trips are a new reality for me now that Apple is more flexible in her nap schedule, meaning that she is just starting to drop her afternoon nap and can go a full day without and with minimal meltdowns. But I also just hoped this would tire her out enough that she would fall asleep in the car on the way home! (nope.) We also just finished potty-training (yay!) and found the portable toilet a lifesaver for the short car ride since the girl is loving her new skill so much she insists on going every 25 minutes.
The drive to Franklin Falls in the Snoqualmie/North Bend area of Washington State is a 60-minute drive from Seattle, heading east on I-90. It’s such a pretty drive, it goes by quickly. We took exit 47 toward Denny Creek and then followed NFD Road 58 to a large parking lot where a $5.00 park use fee was required (or free with a Northwest Forest Pass). The trail was accessible from the parking lot.
We strategically planned our visit on the Friday morning of the week that school started to avoid the crowds as this is a highly popular spot. Totes actually started school this year too! But Kindergarten here in Seattle has a delayed start of a few days so we didn’t officially start until the following Monday.
The trail itself is almost perfectly groomed. Most of the mile path has been fortified to smooth out and level areas, man-made stair sets added and handrails placed along steep drop-offs; all which added to the safety and ease at which my two young ones were able to hike this trail without much assistance by me.
I was overwhelmed with the beauty that surrounded us at every moment. The soaring giant Douglas Fir and Redwood trees shaded our otherwise sunny day, cooling the otherwise hot temperature in the air. We were constantly stopping for those WOW moments along the trail as the kids were so excited about seeing a footbridge, 100+ foot tall trees, the rapids in the river, a section of an old fallen tree that had been partially gutted and laid on its side so it now formed a rocking chair, pinecones and various viewpoints. I followed closely behind, camera clicking.
With only about 400 feet of elevation gain over the course of the trail, my kids were able to walk most of this by themselves. Apple tuckered out the last quarter of the way in so I threw her up on my shoulders for the final push and we quickened our pace to our end goal.
The last few hundred feet to the falls is a narrow trail, cut into the side of a giant rock wall. I made sure to hold on to Totes’ hand tight with Apple on my shoulders to descend this last little bit. I had been pre-warned that at peak flow from the falls (April-July) this area can get wet from the water spray coming from the falls. As it was September, the flow was definitely lighter than I had seen in pictures, which also allowed more room to roam at the base of the falls without getting wet.
Here, we settled down on the rocks and enjoyed a snack. Despite the lower flow from the peak season, there was still a significant amount of water coming down this 70 foot drop, which creates quite a force of wind and spray. I tried to coax the kids closer to the water but they were both very hesitant as you may have seen on my video on IGTV!
LOOKING FORWARD TO MORE!
I’ve seen glimpses of the falls in the winter, when the area is surrounded in snow and icicle formations hang from the rock face walls all around. So we would love to get back to see it then. And the kids haven’t stopped talking about it since we got back!
And we’re looking for our next fun hike or favorite outdoor adventure area! So please share with me in the comments below some of your favorite around the Western Washington area. Happy Exploring!