If you are looking for a new trail to try out in the state of Washington, you have come to the right place. Today we are going to be talking about Wallace Falls, as well as its length and difficulty, and any special features it may have.
Knowing the ins and outs of a hike before you actually trek it is a good idea for safety reasons. You don’t want something unexpected to come up because you didn’t know about certain conditions or aspects of the trail.
Let’s take a look at Wallace Falls to see if it’s the right hike for you.
Where Exactly Is Wallace Falls?
Wallace Falls Trail is a part of Wallace Falls State Park. This national park is off of May Creek road, which is within the city of Gold Bar, Washington.
The actual park address is 14503 Wallace Lake Road, Goldbar, WA 98251.
If you are in the area, here are directions to get to the trail.
Once you are in the city of Gold Bar, take a left turn onto 1st street. Then drive .4 miles and take a right once you reach May Creek Road. At this point you will see Wallace Falls signs for the turns you are taking.
Drive up May Creek Road for 1.3 miles until you reach a Y-junction. Take the left fork and drive up the short path into the Wallace Falls State Park parking lot.
While this parking lot is spacious, it does fill up fairly quickly on the weekends. It is a popular spot for locals, so plan to get there early. And, FYI, you are not supposed to park along the road that accesses the parking lot for Wallace Falls State Park.
If you are looking for a nearby bathroom once you get there, there are bathroom facilities just off of the parking lot, and along the trail. on the trail it is a .2 mile detour once you reach the 1.5 mile marker on the Woody Trail.
The park is open between 8AM and dusk, and the information kiosk will have a clock available. You will need a Discover Pass as a visitor, and you can purchase one at the dispenser in the Wallace Falls parking lot.
Length and Difficulty of This Hike
Wallace Falls Trail has a length of 4.4 miles, and is a heavily trafficked out and back trail.
It is rated at a moderate difficulty. It is recommended that you don’t bring children younger than four, as they will have difficulty walking the whole way and it may be a safety risk with the water.
Make sure to wear sturdy shoes, at the very least either sneakers or tennis shoes. Having open toes on the trail is not recommended. Ideally you should consider purchasing a decent pair of hiking boots to protect your feet and ankles.
You will also want to bring your own water bottle filled with water, there won’t be any drinking water available on the trail. There will be an area at the trailhead to refill your bottle, however.
If your dog likes to hike with you, they will have to be on a leash. This is a very strict rule, as the park and the trail have had issues with dogs actually falling over the waterfalls when they are off-leash. If your dog is not used to hiking trails with you, you should consider leaving them at home.
You can also bring a camera, there are lots of great spots for photos.
It is not recommended that you bring a swimsuit and attempt to swim in the creek or the falls, as it is not a safe area at all. You should, however, make sure to hike early enough that you can walk there and back before it gets dark.
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The Features of These Beautiful Falls
Wallace Falls consists of nine different cataracts, which are all worth hiking up. The whole trail is short enough for a relatively simple, one day outing.
The elevation is at 1200 feet, so you are going to get a decent amount of exercise.
On the actual trail, there are many gorgeous examples of Cascade regional flora and fauna, and quite a bit of old growth forest. The trailhead is really easy to find with drinking water and public bathrooms available.
The paths are well-marked, and have many bridges and railed vista platforms to give you a good view of the falls.
Once you reach the bottom waterfalls there is a covered picnic area as well. You can stop your hike there and head back if you would like to, or you can continue for another mile. If you do continue for that extra mile, you get to see all of the upper falls, which are stunningly beautiful.
This is a very popular trail, so you will most likely cross paths with other hikers along the way.
The Trail – What’s it Like?
Wallace Falls derived its name from Kwayaylsh, which is the surname of the first homesteaders in the area.
Even though this park sees quite a bit of foot traffic, the trail is still in excellent condition. It is extremely well maintained and clean, mostly in part to the maintenance done by WTA, who has sent work parties to tend to this trail over the last few years.
However, there are a few sections of the trail, especially between the Middle Falls to the Upper Falls, that are fairly rugged, but the sections do not last for a long stretch.
To get started, find the trailhead just off of the parking lot, it will be surrounded by the restroom facilities and the information kiosk.
You’ll start by walking under a huge pair of power lines, which may block your first picture opportunity, but there will be many, many more along the way. As you continue left, you will need to duck under a canopy of hemlocks as you reach the Wallace River.
Once you reach the half-mile marker, there will be a split in the trail.
The path that veers right is distinguished by a wooden gate, which signals that the trail is hiker-only from that point forward. The left fork diverts to the Railroad Grade, which is a longer path that is accessible to bikes(Check our best bike trails article). If you are a more seasoned hiker or a biker, left is a suitable choice to make.
If you do decide to go left, you will see some further gorgeous aspects of the park, including paths that lead north to Lake Wallace. For those of you who go through the gate on the right, you will be hiking the Woody Trail and you will still get the full Wallace Falls experience.
After this point, you will be following the Wallace River for a way.
Eventually however, you will break from the river and start hiking the first steep climb of the trail. As you continue up, you will come across smaller paths that will take you to the amphitheater and Railroad Grade Trail, but stay on the Woody Trail until you reach the picnic area at the Lower Falls. This is two miles from the trailhead.
Once you are past the picnic area, you can push forward for less than half a mile for even better views at the Middle Falls. These are probably the most impressive panoramic sights you will get on the trail.
You can turn around at this point if you would like, but if you would like to keep hiking this is going to be the toughest part of the trail. This part of the trail is incredibly steep and will last half a mile until you reach the Upper Falls, where the trail officially ends at 2.8 miles.
While the Wallace Falls State Park is most well-known for its waterfalls. It is less well-known for fishing, swimming, mountain biking, kayaking, and boating. If you are looking to participate in any of the other activities offered, you should contact the park and ask about the seasonal availability of those experiences.
Have a Great Trip to Wallace Falls
We hope that our guide to Wallace Falls helps you have the best trip you can. Make sure to prepare for the day with proper shoes, a water bottle, and an early start to make sure that you are safe and have a great time.
If you have gone to the Wallace Falls trail before, what did you like best about the hike? If you haven’t gone before, what are you most excited for?