Washington Trails: http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/wallace-falls
Location: 47.7971102, -122.2950527
Mountain Range: Near Gold Bar in Wallace Falls State Park (Discover Pass)
Distance: 5 miles, roundtrip
Elevation gain: 1200 to 1500ft depending on how high you go
Highlights: waterfall viewpoints, perfect for a rainy day hike, quick, and easy to find
If you live in Western Washington, you can’t let a little rain get you down. When in search of a great rainy day hike near Seattle, we stumbled upon the well-known Wallace Falls Trail. A fun, quick hike up a roaring waterfall, with a handful of lookout points where you can stop and enjoy the mist.
Wallace Falls was named after the native Kwayaylsh family. Joe and Sarah Kwayaylsh, members of the Skykomish tribe, were the first people to establish residence in the area.
So why is it great for a rainy day? For starters, except the 10 minute walk from/to the parking lot, the trail is covered entirely with tree canopies. This is not to say you’ll have a monotonous view—the trail curves, includes a few bridges, has some steps, and partial runs along a river. The variation keeps your attention. Some mist and raindrops may make it down to the ground, depending on the duration and heaviness of the rain, but not enough to get you drenched. Also, there’s plenty of lookout points from which you’ll get a great view and can decide if it’s time to turn back around or trek forward.
I suggest sticking it out. The final viewpoint is by far the most exciting. While the lower and middle falls viewpoints offer great panoramic views, you really see the power of the falls from the top view. “They” say you might even feel some of the falls spray on a windy day.
The 265 foot falls can apparently also be viewed from atop Mt Pilchuck (along with other sprawling views), a popular hike I hope to tackle soon.
I think Shae M. on Alltrails summed it up best “Many places to rest, eat, or stop for photos, and each of the three falls are gorgeous places to pass, or call your final destination.” As a very popular Washington hike, a rainy day also will also mean a lot less foot traffic, which gives you space to enjoy the falls in solitude.
Spoiler Alert: Trail Play-By-Play
There’s a big waterfall! I’m opting out of a play-by-play this time because the trail is so well marked and there’s only one direction—up.