Saturday, July 9, 2011

Wallace Falls

I can't mention enough how happy I am that we purchased the book "Waterfalls of the Pacific Northwest" by Gregory Plumb. Though I often disagree with his rating system for difficulty of hikes and beauty of waterfalls, this book has been immeasurably useful to us and helped us find dozens of gorgeous waterfalls that we would have never known existed.

I knew about Snoqualmie Falls, Twin Falls, and a few others, but I hadn't heard much about a gorgeous one about 45 minutes away from me called "Wallace Falls." Yes, I had seen the sign on US 2 that directs you to "Wallace Falls State Park," but not all waterfalls with a sign are worth seeing. We went to one outside Olympia signed as "Rainbow Falls State Park," and I have no idea how anyone could possibly define it as a falls. It's not picturesque at all and the 5 foot drop is barely even noticeable. It was definitely not worth going an additional 30 miles out of our way to see (this review on pnwhikes sums it up perfectly. Wallace Falls, on the other hand, is spectacular. The main drop is stunning, and there are 9 total along the river. It's a 5.5 mile hike round trip to all of them, and the picture above is the first falls you see. It's appropriately named "Small Falls."

Here's a pic of me crossing the first bridge.

And a pic of picturesque lower falls.

From lower falls you can see middle falls in the distance. You actually can find a similar view of middle falls from US 2, but you really have to do the hike to fully appreciate its beauty.

And here is stunning middle falls!

These two drops can be overlooked from lower falls. I guess they're lower, lower falls and lower, lower, lower falls!

As you climb higher you can begin to see better and better views of the Skykomish Valley.

Here's a pic of the top of middle falls' drop.

We typically only hike on Oscar's days off, but since this hike was only about a 50 minute drive away, I was unwilling to wait for a clear Monday. Our Spring was terrible this year, and the few clear days we had were not on Mondays. A beautiful, warm, clear Wednesday arrived and I insisted we do the hike before Oscar had to go to work.

I'm glad we waited until it was clear since we had some lovely views of the valley.

And at the end of the hike you arrive at Upper Falls.

Here's a pic of me with my hair wet from the spray of the waterfall.

And some pretty views we saw on our way back down. I celebrated this gorgeous hike by twisting my ankle on the descent. It hurt for several days, but it was worth it for such a pretty hike. You can pass the waterfalls and continue hiking to Wallace Lake, but we didn't have time, the trail's not as well marked, and they've had several people get lost. Maybe we'll do it someday and bring a GPS with us.

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