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Hiking to a waterfall can be a memorable experience that stays with us for the rest of our life. This is why so many people are interested in Franklin Falls.
Some people struggle with overcoming the initial fear surrounding these kinds of hikes. This fear can be debilitating and prevent hikers from witnessing the profound beauty of nature.
In this article, we discuss the difficulty of the trail leading to Franklin Falls. Then, we discuss some popular trail questions that potential visitors might have.
HOW DIFFICULT IS FRANKLIN FALLS TRAIL?
Franklin Falls Trail is a 2-mile out-and-back trail that is relatively easy to hike.
Since there is only an elevation gain of 367 feet, visitors don’t have to undergo a grueling ascend to reach the coveted destination. Instead, there is a gentle incline with many stairs. This minimizes the possibility of accidents and injuries.
Franklin Falls Trail is well marked throughout. This makes it the perfect trail for a solo traveler or the entire family. The majority of children will be able to handle the 1-mile trek.
Trees provide ample shade on the trail during the spring and summer months.
NAVIGATING THE DIFFICULT AREAS
If traversing the Franklin Falls Trail during the winter, we recommend using proper gear like snowshoes. Parts of the trail can be slippery during the winter, especially at the base of the falls. The main dangers are the risks associated with canyoneering around the waterfall. The actual trail is very doable, even if you’re out of shape.
The hardest part of the trail is at the very end right before viewing the falls. At this point, you have to walk along a narrow edge and hold a rope. This can be difficult because the rocks tend to get wet and slippery due to their proximity to the falls. Therefore, most hikers do not recommend bringing a stroller.
The trail allows dogs. Hiking with a pet motives some people, as the pet can act as a guide and companion which can encourage hikers to push onwards.
WHAT ARE THE FEATURES OF FRANKLIN FALLS?
- Franklin Falls actually consists of three tiers of waterfalls. You can only see the largest drop from Franklin Falls Trail. This waterfall features a 70-foot drop which starts off as a 25-foot slide.
- The first drop is a 15-foot fall and the second drop is a 25-foot fall. The first fall is a block-shaped fall that is very scenic. The second fall is more of a fanning cascade.
- These falls are located between two viaducts; traffic along Interstate 90 can pass without winter avalanche disruptions.
- When the waterfalls are flowing at peak levels, they give off a significant spray of water at the base. During lower levels of water, the waterfalls are much calmer and even allow hikers to explore the base. Icicle formations can be witnessed during the fall and winter months.
- The trail leading to these falls snakes through a forest teeming with flora and fauna. Franklin Falls leads into a shallow river that visitors can walk across. However, the water is often very cold even during the summer.
There is a parking lot at the initial trailhead that can hold up to 30 cars. If this lot is full, visitors can also park in a lot which is 0.5 miles away from the trailhead.
Franklin Falls is located in Snoqualmie Pass just off of Interstate 90. There are tons of outdoor activities in this region of the US due to the proximity of the Cascades. This includes hiking on many nearby trails as well as camping, biking, fishing, hunting, and boating.
There are also many other notable waterfalls in the area. For example, Franklin Falls is about 30 minutes away from Snoqualmie Falls which is a famous 268-foot waterfall. Hikers can also explore Snoqualmie National Forest and set up camp at nearby places such as Denny Creek.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
Franklin Falls is a picturesque waterfall that is very accessible. Some waterfalls require an intense hike in order to access them. This is not the case with Franklin Falls, which makes it an ideal destination for families and children.
STUNNING VIEWS YEAR-ROUND
Visitors get stunning views of the surrounding landscape throughout the trail. What’s really unique about Franklin Falls is how popular it is during the winter. Many visitors claim that the base is heavenly when covered in snow, and this is the case throughout the spring and even into the early summer.
The hike is also stunning during the summer. Wildflowers abound and ample shade provides protection from the scorching sun.
More than anything, Franklin Falls is located centrally if you want to access other landmarks in the area. Many people like to hike first thing in the morning so they can explore other sites later in the day. For example, Rattlesnake Ledge is a popular place to go since it is about halfway between Seattle and Franklin Falls.
ARE THERE ANY DRAWBACKS?
Some visitors have noted how crowded Franklin Falls can get during certain times of the year. These crowds can be noisy which can be disturbing to some hikers who expect the trail to be quiet and solitary.
Dogs are allowed on the trail as long as they are on a leash. Yet, some hikers are allergic to or hyper-sensitive to dogs. If this applies to you, hiking the trail might not be ideal during peak hours.
Lastly, some visitors think the short distance to the falls actually represents a drawback. These visitors think the beauty of the falls must be worked for and that a 1-mile hike is hardly taxing.
TIPS FOR VISITING FRANKLIN FALLS
We recommend starting your hike to Franklin Falls as early as possible. During the summer, this means getting to the trailhead well before sunrise. This allows you to beat both the crowds and the heat.
We recommend bringing extra water and food regardless of what time you go. This will allow you to rehydrate and refuel throughout your journey, which will only enhance your experience.
We think dried fruit and nuts are the best kind of energy source to bring. These foods are not only delicious but filling, nutritious and portable. We also suggest bringing coconut water, as it is full of natural electrolytes.
We don’t think it’s difficult to pack food that is both mobile and healthy as long as you plan a bit in advance. One approach is to make your own trail mix ahead of time that consists of different nuts, dried fruit, and grains.
While the food you bring might seem insignificant, a nourishing meal could be the difference between heading home early or continuing to explore.
OUR FINAL THOUGHTS ON FRANKLIN FALLS
We think Franklin Falls is the ideal location for a family who wants to witness the power and beauty of nature without having to hike a strenuous trail.
We think winter is an underrated time of year to visit Franklin Falls, though we recommend being cautious at the base. Furthermore, we recommend bringing extra layers of clothing, as the weather can be unpredictable during the winter months.
Many people have reported that the area seems almost otherworldly when covered in snow. Thus, it’s no wonder visitors travel from all over the world to witness Franklin Falls.
Regardless of what time of year you visit, we think you will be deeply moved by your experience.