A couple weekends ago, I hiked to Wallace Falls since it was one of the few hikes accessible in Seattle during the winter. It was an easy half-day hike that goes through thick forests, crosses picturesque wooden bridges, and offers beautiful views of several waterfalls.
Wallace Falls is located in Gold Bar about one hour away from Seattle, making it really convenient for a half-day hike. The weather was phenomenal when I went, so by the time I got to the parking lot around 9:30 AM it was already 90% full. I’d recommend arriving early, especially when the weather is nice, to secure a parking spot. Note that you’ll need the Discovery Pass, which can be purchased from the kiosk at the parking lot.
The trail starts on a flat gravel path between powerlines, but it quickly turns into the forest and you’ll begin to see gradual elevation gains. We had two trail options, and we opted for the Woody Trail instead of the Railroad Grade Trail since it was a more direct and easier route.
It is 1.4 miles to Lower Falls, 1.7 miles to Middle Falls, and 2.3 miles to Upper Falls. The total elevation gain to Upper Falls is 1300 ft, but around 1100 ft of that comes in the section between Middle and Upper Falls. We only hiked to Middle Falls since it had the best views without the steep elevation gains and switchbacks to Upper Falls.
The entire hike was along fern-covered trails shadowed by tall evergreen trees, which covered us from the sun and helped us stay cool. The elevation gains on the trail were pretty gradual and evenly distributed, so we were able to hike at a very comfortable pace. The trail was also well-maintained with several benches for people to take breaks.
We crossed a handful of beautiful wooden bridges, and my favorite was the large bridge that crossed a wider portion of the river. It looked so beautiful against the thick greenery and it was fun to photograph from the different angles.
We arrived at Lower Falls pretty quickly and took a short snack break. There was a covered shelter with a few picnic tables, where we saw many people and families hanging out. Lower Falls itself isn’t very tall and we could see Middle Falls in the distance, so we didn’t linger long and continued our way to Middle Falls.
Middle Falls is about 260 ft tall and continues to cascade another hundred feet or so from the base of the fall. The viewpoint is where the switchbacks begin, and it offers a fantastic view of the waterfall. The trees around the waterfall were so lush and green and made the waterfall really stand out against the greenery.
The entire hike took us around 2 hours going at a leisurely pace and making several stops for photos.
I really enjoyed Wallace Falls, especially Middle Falls and the beautiful wooden bridges along the way. It’s an easy hike with amazing views of several waterfalls, and the best part is that it’s just a short drive outside of Seattle!