Happy Monday, friends! Goodness. I don’t know about you, but that was a much-needed long weekend for us, and it was seriously soul fuel for the five of us to just spend some uninterrupted family time together. We’d originally planned to spend Thanksgiving in Utah with Ryan’s family, but with COVID, Washington’s restrictions, and the recommended quarantines, we didn’t feel it was wise to go out of state. So, instead, we spent Thanksgiving here at home with our Army family, including Maribel and her daughters (they hike with us almost all the time!), as her husband was away for the holiday. It was a wonderful holiday, and it gave us time to plan our adventure to Franklin Falls in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.
Wagonroad Trail to Franklin Falls
Franklin Falls has been on my bucket list for some time, but AllTrails advertises the Franklin Falls Trail as heavily trafficked, which didn’t really appeal to me. When we hike, we prefer to escape the crowds whenever possible. So, after a little research, I settled on Wagonroad Trail to Franklin Falls – a side trail that loops through the dense forest in an indirect route to the base of Franklin Falls. Now, truth be told, we had another hike in mind. We had one planned in North Bend, but it was pouring there, and while we’re not afraid of a little rain, we felt it was wiser to head a little further to escape the bulk of the weather.
It was still rainy at the trailhead to Franklin Falls, and it was quite crowded. After some finagling, we parked on the side street, set out our Northwest Forest Pass, and headed up the main road to the Wagonroad trailhead. This little offshoot trail is a bit more obscure than the others in the region – namely Franklin Falls Trail and Denny Creek – but we went just past the entrance to the other two and made our way onto a hidden forest trailhead blanketed in a pretty thick snowpack. Luckily, we’ve made it common practice now to carry our snow and rain gear, so we were well-equipped.
Wagonroad Trail winds through the woods, crossing two quiet forest roads, leading upwards until it eventually intersects with the end of the Franklin Falls trail then makes its way down a stone path to the base of the waterfall. It was busy, so I’m glad we took the side trail, and we carefully clambered down to the base of Franklin Falls. It’s a little mind-blowing that this gorgeous waterfall is at the base of the Snoqualmie Pass, is accessible by a relatively easy hike, and you can stand nearly right at the base.
We didn’t stay long because the combination of the rain and mist made for colder littles, but goodness. What an experience! Since we had Danny, we headed back the way we came, and we even managed to lose the track for a small part, requiring us to trudge our way back to the path. Honestly, this was an adventure because of the combination of rain, wind, and snow, but we were so proud of our littles taking it in stride! Mieke was the only one who really wasn’t enjoying this one, and she cried a good bit of the way. Both Ryan and I said that, after the end of the day though, it was 100% worth it for the growth and progress our boys have made. From our first hike last year to Little Mashel Falls to now, they’ve grown leaps and bounds!
Tips for Hiking Wagonroad Trail to Franklin Falls
Trail Length: 2 miles, according to AllTrails. We managed to get a little closer to 2.8 while trudging off track for a little bit and searching for our way back.
Level of Difficulty: Overall, this is an easy hike, but the snowpack makes it slippery and, therefore, a little harder. I’d recommend ensuring you have proper hiking boots, as well as grip for the snow pack.
Cost: You’ll need your Northwest Pass for this one.
Dogs: Yes, dogs are allowed on leash! We’ll admit that Danny was off-leash for a small part of it because we were completely alone on the trail, but we leashed her back up before the trails intersected.
Tips: When you arrive to the GPS location, it will point you towards the parking lot for the Franklin Falls Trail. Walk a little further up the road, and you’ll see a small, pretty obscure marker for Wagonroad Trail. Verizon had LTE here, so I made sure to keep my map open while on the trail to ensure we weren’t off, and it helped guide us the little way back when we were.