Post Summary: What To Expect During The Wallace Falls Hike Trail Near Seattle
What do you think of when you hear “Pacific Northwest”?
Is it a combination of waterfalls, fern-covered trails, and maybe a little bit of rain? How about thick evergreen forests, mountains, and picturesque views?
What if I told you there was a Washington hiking trail that had all of these things in a beautiful 5.6-mile hike? It’s true! Wallace Falls Hike in the Cascade Mountains is the perfect combination of all things Pacific Northwest, and it’s just a short drive from Seattle, too!
In this post, we’re taking you step by step through Wallace Falls Trail, and what to expect along the way. We’re sharing why it’s worth a trip at any time of year.
Let’s get started!
Hiking Wallace Falls Trail Near Seattle, Washington
Wallace Falls Hike Details
Because of the close proximity to Seattle, this is an extremely popular hiking trail in Washington, especially on the weekends.
- Distance: 3.7 miles out-and-back (if you are just going to the Lower Falls as we did!)
- Elevation Gain: 1,300 feet
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Trailhead Location: Wallace Falls Parking Lot
The Beginning of Wallace Falls Trail
The beginning of the Wallace Falls Trail starts out on a flat, gravel path under electric poles. On a clear day, you are able to see the mountains in the distance. Spot the bench at the far end of the gravel path, right before you turn left into the woods.
Here, you can sit and enjoy the view for a while, and read the interpretive sign that names all the mountain peaks in the distance.
Soon after the gravel path ends, you’ll head into the forest on a gradual hike up. Make sure to follow signs to Lower/Middle/Upper Wallace Falls (also called the “Woody Trail“), and take a right to wing your way into the woods. Bikes are not allowed on this path – only foot hikers!
The Railroad Trail is also an option. This route will take you on a gradual incline trail suitable for bikers and hikers looking for a longer trail. This trail will eventually lead you to Wallace Lake, but it’s an uncommon route of choice if you’re just looking to enjoy the falls.
Read More: 25 Winter Trips in Washington State
Best Features On The Wallace Falls Hike
So what can you expect along the way? Besides the waterfall, of course, there are many incredible features to experience on the Wallace Falls Trail! From the moss-covered trees to clear streams running through the trail, there is so much to see and do here. Keep scrolling to see the amazing things you will encounter on your hike to Wallace Falls!
Along the Wallace Falls hike, there are 3 (maybe 4?) wooden bridges that cross the North Fork of Wallace River, and various creeks that run through the trail. Beautifully constructed, these wooden bridges are fun to photograph. Just make sure you are letting people pass if you’re staying for a while!
Gorgeous Natural Stairs
This trail boasts a pretty significant incline (1,400 feet!) so expect to climb your way up the path pretty much the whole time. To preserve the trail from erosion (and to keep it looking pretty!), you’ll frequently find stairs along the trail.
These stairs are fashioned out of wood and/or boulders and make it a little easier to continue upwards on a muddy, slippery day!
Take a Similar Hike To Heather Lake in the Mountain Loop Highway
Tall Evergreen Trees
Winding through the trail, you will be covered under a canopy of tall evergreen trees pretty much the entire time! You’ll also encounter sections where there is exposed tree roots across the path – make sure to watch your step as you navigate these areas because they are huge tripping hazards!
River Views and Scenic Benches
One of the many things we love about Wallace Falls Trail is the recreational diversity here! You can opt to take just the hike and return to the car, or make an entire day out of it!
As we were hiking back, we saw a family coming up the trail carrying LOADS of picnic items to spread out in the covered shelters halfway on the trail. We loved the idea of bringing the whole family out for a fun lunch and hike, so you can really make this trail as customizable as you’d like!
In addition to the shelters at Wallace Falls State Park, there are several benches that are placed along the trail and along the Wallace River. Take the trail at your own pace and soak up the beauty that the Pacific Northwest offers here!
The Waterfall View: Wallace Falls
And the moment we’ve all been waiting for…Wallace Falls! Majestically dropping 256-feet, this view feels like a quintessential Pacific Northwest experience. Tucked away in the thick forest of evergreen trees, it almost feels fantasy-life, as if it were plucked right out of a Lord of the Rings novel and placed into real life.
We stopped our Wallace Falls hike at the Lower Viewpoint, which we’re sharing below. Here, there is the ‘iconic’ view of the falls – the photo that practically everyone gets coming here!
This is a great stopping point for hikers who want to see the waterfall and then turn around. This is what we did, and we were happy to see the falls this way.
However, there IS the option to keep going, specifically to the Middle and Upper Wallace Falls Viewpoints. As the names suggest, you continue hiking up the trail to get a closer and closer view of Wallace Falls.
Essential Tips For Hiking Wallace Falls Trail
Our first piece of advice for embarking on a Wallace Falls hike is to wear waterproof boots. Being in the Pacific Northwest, the trail is frequently muddy and wet. You’ll want to be comfortable and dry in your shoes!
Want to make a day out of it? Bring a picnic! There is a covered shelter about halfway up the trail, which is the perfect place to enjoy lunch with a small view of the falls from a distance.
Bring Hiking Poles. If you find that hiking on a slope is hard on your knees, use hiking poles! Berty and I love hiking poles, and we use them to assist us on steep inclines and save our joints from undue stress on the way down.
Other Washington Hikes Near Wallace Falls
Ready to discover more hikes in Washington state? Along the same Highway 2 as the Wallace Falls hike, there are so many incredible hiking trails to explore! Here are some of our favorite spots to explore below.
Barclay Lake Trail. An easy 4.3-mile out-and-back trail takes you to a lake with impressive mountain views in the distance!
Bridal Veil Falls. Bridal Veil Falls is another Washington waterfall hike that brings you to a stunning 322-foot cascading fall! It is 3.7-miles out and back with a 1,000-foot elevation gain.
Heybrook Lookout Trail. Heybrook Lookout Trail is a 1.9-mile, steep trail to an incredibly cool fire lookout! Climb the many sets of stairs to the top and get unobstructed views of the Cascade Mountain Range right in front of you!
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