This weekend, my little family and I decided to go on a hike. This is something that we had gotten away from a bit after Hadley was born and are slowly trying to get back into. This one in particular brings me back to my childhood, when my dad and I would spend most of our Summer weekends up in the mountains on some sort of adventure.
This is definitely one of my favorite hikes, and for good reason. The trail follows along the Wallace River, ending in a series of three waterfalls; the lower, middle, and upper falls. It’s about 5.6 miles round trip and the majority of the distance falls between the trail head and the lower falls, as highlighted on the map below (red.)
The trail begins with a flat, gravel path, providing a nice and easy warm-up (yellow.) Once you pass the lower falls, the incline increases dramatically for the rest of the way until you finally reach the upper falls at the very top (orange.) Because of the constant ascension, the last bit of this hike feels like it takes forever! This makes the lower falls a good ending spot for those of you hiking with little ones, which is still a great little hike in itself!
So, this was Hadley’s first time doing Wallace (second, if you count the last time I did it with her still in my tummy ;)) and is probably the longest hike she’s ever been on! Because of this, I decided it would be best to have her in her little hiking backpack for the majority of it. Now, we hadn’t really carried her in it for awhile, but let’s just say that a few months makes a big difference! (Girl is heeeeaaaaavvvy!)
At first, she wanted nothing to do with it, giving us the “I’m a big girl” attitude…
But after walking a few yards she gave in and let us put her in it… and ended up loving it!
The majority of the trail is shaded by tall, shady trees covered almost entirely with moss.
“Come forth into the light of things. Let nature be your teacher” – W. Woodsworth
There are a handful of bridges that cross over various little creeks as you go along…
Hadley was so entranced by all the running water!
As we neared the lower falls, the weight was beginning to take a bit of a toll on my shoulders and back…
But we made it! And had a nice little lunch break…
The lower falls are actually pretty mellow at this time of year. In the spring and early summer, they’re really flowing from all the snow melting! A couple summers ago, we actually ended up swimming in the lowers falls on our way back down (we were worn out from making it to the upper falls!) Michael’s niece and I ended up jumping off the falls into the water!
After we were nice and rested, we packed up and began our descent. This time, Hadley hitched a ride with Dad!
The whole squad (minus our cat, Lucy, of course!) Pictured here is Rebel, our family dog of almost three years. He’s a black lab/rottie mix, and you will not find a sweeter, more loyal dog in the entire world. He’s great with kids and just loves everybody!
Overall, it was a great day. If you’re looking for a day trip that’s great for the whole family, be sure to give Wallace a try! You can read more here. Happy hiking! 🙂
A River’s Story
Starting from the highest ridgepoints on Ragged Ridge, the Wallace River headwaters flow westward with an elevation drop of 5,000 feet, ending with its confluence with the Skykomish River in Sultan. A modest river by western Washington standards – flowing a distance of only 20 miles – the Wallace is the fourth major tributary upriver from the Skykomish, which in turn mergers with the Snohomish River southwest of Monroe. May and Olney Creeks enter the Wallace downstream from this location, near the Wallace River Salmon Hatchery, just west of Gold Bar. The Wallace River itself has two forks: the North Fork and the Main Fork, which merge together at a viewpoint farther ahead. On the Main Fork, the Wallace drops some 1,000 feet over a mile-long stretch, running through a serious of a dozen waterfalls.
Many of these falls can be seen from the Woody Trail ahead. The park’s main viewpoints start with the picnic shelter at the Lower Falls. The trail climbs next to the park’s star attraction: The Middle Falls, continues to the Valley View overlook, and finally ends at the Upper Falls viewpoint. Total distance one-way from trailhead to the Upper Falls viewpoint is 2.75 miles. The “Lower Wallace” including tributary May Creek, is an important regional fishery, supporting seasonal salmon and steelhead runs. This is a boon to bald eagles and local anglers, courtesy in part to the Wallace River Salmon Hatchery. Upriver, the Wallace River watershed drains some 18 square miles. The river flows at high volume during the spring runoff, at flood-stage during the late fall/winter rain events, and low during dry periods in summer/early fall or dry, cold spells in the winter.
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