- Central Cascades -- Stevens Pass - West Washington State Parks
- Roundtrip 5.5 miles Elevation Gain 1200 ft Highest Point 1500 ft
- Rivers, Waterfalls, Old growth, Mountain views
- User info: Good for kids, Dogs allowed on leash
- Discover Pass required
- Guidebooks & Maps
- Green Trails Index No. 142
A series of falls, nine in all, two that are stunning and one-the tallest at 265 feet-that's absolutely spectacular! As Wallace Falls is one of the best known and loved sets of cataracts in the Evergreen State, expect plenty of company on this hike. And while these falls are grand any time of year, visit on a rainy day. Each raindrop that falls from the heavens and makes its way to the Wallace River enhances the intensity and stimulating beauty of this cavalcade of crashing cascades.
First, check out the kiosk to read up on the falls, park, and their history. The way begins on a high-voltage line right-of-way. Buzzing along, take in a nice view of Mount Index and Baring Mountain. After 0.25 mile, enter a uniform forest of young hemlocks. The Wallace River becomes audible and its presence felt in the cool breezes funneling down the valley.
At 0.4 mile, come to a junction. Left heads to the falls on an old logging rail-road grade. The easy grade attracts runners and mountain bikers. It makes for a nice loop option, adding about a mile and is best done on the return.
Head right on the Woody Trail (named not for the surroundings, but for the late state senator, Frank Woody, who was a great advocate of the state's Youth Corps that helped construct this trail). Follow the trail through dark and dank forest, dropping down to river's edge. A short side trail branches off to a pretty series of small cataracts. But the big tumbles are still ahead. Under colonnades of moss-shrouded trees and accompanied by showy boughs of dark green ferns bursting from the ground, continue beside the roiling river. Benches provide spots for contemplation.
Now pulling away from the river, the trail begins to climb. Thanks to the Washington Trails Association, the tread is tough and durable, ready to with-stand the thousands of boots that pummel it each season. 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 (your return option) and also to Wallace Lake via the Greg Ball Trail.
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 will probably catch your attention is the much bigger falls off in the distance. Continue up the trail. At 2.2 miles reach the viewpoint for the Middle Falls. At 265 feet, this falls is the park's highest, the one you can see from US 2 way down below, and one of the most impressive hydrological shows in the state. From the soggy overlook, stare right into the heart of the tumultuous falls roaring through a narrow chasm.
The Upper Falls are another 0.5 mile beyond. Not quite as impressive, it's still nevertheless worth the 500-foot climb to get there. En route be sure to stop at the ledgy overlook above the Middle Falls for a sweeping view of the Skykomish River valley out to the Olympic Mountains.
From Everett follow US 2 for 28 miles east to the hamlet of Gold Bar. Just before milepost 28, turn left onto 1st Street (signed for Wallace Falls State Park). Pro-ceed for 0.4 mile to a four-way stop. Turn right onto May Creek Road and con-tinue for 1.5 miles to Wallace Falls State Park and the trailhead (elev. 300 ft). Privy and water available