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Hiking to a waterfall can be an incomparable experience that affects us for the rest of our life.

However, many people struggle with overcoming the initial fear surrounding these kinds of hikes. This fear can be debilitating and can prevent hikers from witnessing the profound beauty of nature.

In this article, we start off by discussing the difficulty of the trail leading to Franklin Falls. Then, we discuss some popular trail questions that potential visitors to Franklin Falls might have.

How Difficult is Franklin Falls Trail?

franklin falls

Franklin Falls Trail is a 2-mile out-and-back trail that is considered a relatively easy hike.

Since there is only an elevation gain of 367 feet, visitors don’t have to undergo a grueling ascend in order to reach the coveted destination. Instead, there is a very gentle incline with many stairs. This minimizes the possibility of accidents and injuries.

Franklin Falls Trail is very well marked throughout, which minimizes the possibility of getting lost. This makes it the perfect trail for a solo traveler for the entire family. The majority of children will be able to handle the 1-mile trek to Franklin Falls.

Trees provide ample shade on the trail during the spring and summer months. This minimizes the impact of the heat during this time of year, which only makes the trail more accessible.

If traversing the Franklin Falls Trail during the winter, proper gear like show shoes is recommended. Parts of the trail can be slippery during the winter, especially at the base of the falls. Really, the main dangers associated with Franklin Falls Trail are all 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 on the trail, you have to walk along a narrow edge and hold a rope. This can be difficult because the rocks tend to get wet due to their proximity to the falls. Thus, they definitely get slippery.

Consequently, most hikers do not recommend bringing a stroller on this trail. This could potentially make the trail difficult for some hikers.

It should be noted that dogs are allowed on the trail, which makes it even easier for some hikers. Some people are motivated by hiking with a pet, 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. Only the largest drop can be viewed 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 considered a block-shaped fall that is very scenic. The second fall is considered more of a fanning cascade.
  • These falls are located between two viaducts which allow traffic along Interstate 90 to pass without being disturbed by winter avalanches.
  • 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. Many icicle formations can be witnessed during the fall and winter months.
  • The trail that leads to these falls snakes through a forest teeming with flora and fauna. Franklin Falls leads into a very 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 if full, then 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.

What are the benefits of franklin falls?

man standing in front of waterfall

Franklin Falls is a picturesque waterfall that is very accessible. Some waterfalls require an intense hike in order to access them, full of danger and sacrifice. This is not the case with Franklin Falls, which makes it an ideal destination for families and children.

Visitors are treated to 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 of the falls is heavenly when covered in snow, and this is the case throughout the spring and even into the early summer.

In the same vein, the hike to Franklin Falls is also stunning during the summer when wildflowers abound and ample shade provides protection from the scorching sun.

More than anything, Franklin Falls is located very centrally if you want to access other landmarks in the area. Many people like to hike Franklin Falls first thing in the morning so that they can explore other sites later in the day. For example, Rattlesnake Ledge is a popular place to go since it lies about halfway between Seattle and Franklin Falls.  

What are the drawbacks of franklin falls?

Some visitors have noted how crowded Franklin Falls can be during certain times of the year like the summer months. These crowds can be noisy which can be disturbing to some hikers that expect the trail to be quiet and solitary.

Dogs are also allowed on the Franklin Falls Trail as long as they are kept on a leash. Yet, some hikers are allergic to or hyper-sensitive to dogs. If this applies to you, then hiking the trail might not be ideal during peak hours.

Lastly, some visitors think that 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.

What Are Some 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 will not only allow you to beat the crowds but also the heat.

Still, we recommend bringing extra water and food regardless of what time of day you go. This will allow you to rehydrate and refuel throughout your journey, which will only enhance your experience. There’s nothing worse than having to leave a waterfall early due to an irresistible hunger.

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 very portable. We also recommend bringing coconut water, as this is full of natural electrolytes.

Even though some hiking experts recommend bringing various bars and gels, we generally don’t recommend these unless you’re hiking for an extended period of time. We think these food sources are often loaded with preservatives, oils, and refined sugars. This makes them actually counteractive to hiking, as consuming these things could drain your energy by leading to poor digestion.

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. By making this trail mix on your own instead of buying it in-store, you can control what ingredients you include and thus how you will feel when hiking to Franklin Falls.

While the food you bring might seem insignificant, we think it might be one of the most important decisions you make all day. A nourishing meal could be the difference between heading home early or continuing to explore other nearby sites. Truly, healthy food is inspiring and empowering whereas unhealthy food is deadening and discouraging.

our final thoughts on franklin falls

We think Franklin Falls would be 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 of the falls. Furthermore, we recommend bringing extra layers of clothing, as the weather can be unpredictable during the winter months.

Many people have reported that Franklin Falls seems almost otherworldly when covered in snow. Thus, it’s no wonder that 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.

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