Seattle isn’t known as the Emerald City for nuthin’. Its gorgeous greenness spans as far as the eye can see. Would-be nature-people that we are, Jay and I decided we had to hike the surrounding area while we were there. We were careful to monitor the weather reports and pick a day sans expected rain — there would be plenty enough water at our destination.
Wallace Falls State Park is an easy hour’s drive out of Seattle, made better by tons of evergreen countryside. We were led astray by Siri at one point during our drive (I’m shaking a fist at you, Apple!), but otherwise found the trailhead quite easily. There’s a small park usage fee, $10 for the day, which we paid promptly before starting our journey.
Here we have Jay at the start of the hike. Pay no attention to his gaudy five-finger toe shoes. That’s what he wants!
Jay and I loved everything about this trail. We started off underneath some buzzing power lines, but once we entered the forested area, it felt like an entirely removed world. The trees grew tall and thin, stretching up as far as the eye could see. We were under a canopy of shade throughout the entire hike (granted, it was overcast to begin with).
After some time, we came to a fork in the road and had to choose a trail: Woody Grade (by the water) and Railroad Grade (a mile longer, but steadier). We started off with the former, hiking alongside Wallace River, and ended with the latter. On our first leg of the trip, Jay happily commented that the Woody Grade gave us a “real hike,” complete with challenging inclines, dark brush, and the sound of babbling water.
Though it certainly felt wild, we didn’t see any local fauna — only a few insects and a squirrel here or there. (I also want to give a shout-out to ever-patient Jay, who spent 5 minutes getting his iPhone camera to focus on our eight-legged friend below.)
After an hour or two of hiking, we approached the Lower Falls, which provided us a lovely top-to-bottom view of the water.
The Middle Falls gave us a look at the beautiful Pacific Northwest horizon. Although it was a bit of a dreary day, the sight was still stunning.
As we hiked higher up, the skies got grayer. I was worried it might rain after all, but all was fine — in fact, I think we were just feeling the mistiness of the clouds and waterfalls. In any case, the Upper Falls were lovely in their fog. We celebrated by scarfing down sandwiches at the top (stay tuned to find out which ‘wiches!).
The 6.6-mile loop took us about 4 hours to complete, including plenty of photo ops and our lunch break. We were entirely exhausted, and completely satisfied with ourselves, by the time we got home.
Wallace Falls State Park
Park website: www.parks.wa.gov/parks/?selectedpark=Wallace%20Falls
Trail guide: www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/wallace-falls