Saturday, April 12, 2014

Wallace Falls

Wallace Falls

Even though we have taken a few hikes since January most of the outdoor activities have been skiing instead of hiking until now.  This week we went to Wallace Falls State Park near Gold Bar, Washington.  Bob classifies this as an “easy” hike but the signs and the books say “moderate” difficulty.  The round trip was about 5.2 miles with approximately 800 feet elevation gain.   We saw the Small Falls, the Lower Falls, and the Middle Falls, but did not climb up to the top of the Upper Falls.  The long waterfall cascades down in three sections with the upper falls dropping about 265 feet and can be seen from the valley below. 

Small Falls

 Lower Falls

View from Middle Falls

It would have been another climb of 500 feet up and about ¼ mile distance to reach the top.  Then we would have been looking down on the falls although Bob told me that there is still another set of waterfalls up higher that cannot be seen until one gets to the Upper Falls.  As it turns out most people stop at the Middle Falls viewing area with only a few going all the rest of the way up to the Upper Falls.  There are viewing platforms along the trail and our original destination for the day was the picnic shelter at Lower Falls but it was a beautiful day and I was willing to try more so we were able to get to the Middle Falls.  The sound of the rushing water is loud and pleasant; every so often a light mist of spray wafts upward.  It makes the long falls quite pretty to look at with the clouds of mist.

 The trees were moss covered

Someone had built this small cairn along side the trail

 This odd looking tree growing out of another tree caught our eyes

There were a few wooden bridges crossing the river

 The river as seen from the bridge

One of several viewing platforms along the way

The three trail systems that wind through the forest are the Woody Trail, the old railroad grade, and the Greg Ball trail.  We went up the Woody Trail and returned via the old railroad grade trail, which was longer but less steep.  The railroad bed is open to mountain bikes but we only saw 3 bikers and one skateboarder.  

The trails are popular and there were lots of people due to the lovely weather and some schools being out for Spring Break.  There were families with small children, lots of people with dogs, and lots of teens and what looked like college students too. 

Black tailed deer on the Railroad Grade

Some wildflowers were just beginning to put forth buds and blooms.  As per usual we stopped frequently to take photos and rest so it took us longer than most to make the round trip.  We did see two black tailed deer and a few birds. 

 Skunk Cabbage

 Salmon Berry

 Yellow Wood or Stream Violets


Wild Strawberry

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