Franklin Falls Trailhead: A Hiker’s Guide

Franklin Falls Trailhead


Are you a fan of waterfalls? Do you love hiking in nature? Do you want to discover a scenic spot that is suitable for all ages and fitness levels? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you should definitely check out Franklin Falls Trailhead, a hidden gem in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington, USA.

Franklin Falls Trailhead is a short and easy hike that leads to a spectacular waterfall that plunges 135 feet into a rocky pool. Along the way, you will be surrounded by lush greenery, towering trees, and the soothing sound of the river. The trail is well-maintained and accessible year-round, making it an ideal destination for any season. Whether you are looking for a family-friendly outing, a romantic getaway, or a solo escape, Franklin Falls Trailhead will not disappoint you.

Franklin Falls

History and Geography

Franklin Falls Trailhead is beautiful and historic. The trail follows the route of an old wagon road built in the 1880s to connect Seattle with Snoqualmie Pass mining towns. The road was later paved and became part of Sunset Highway, the first road to cross the Cascades. The road was eventually replaced by Interstate 90, but some sections of the old road still remain, such as the one that leads to the trailhead.

The trail also passes through a diverse and rich ecosystem, where you can see various plants and animals. The trail is mostly shaded by evergreen trees, such as Douglas fir, western hemlock, and western red cedar. You may also spot shady trees, such as vine maple, long leaf maple, and alder. The ground cover is filled with leaves, algae, and wildflowers, such as trillium, bleeding heart, and fireweed. The trail is home to many birds, such as chickadees, juncos, and woodpeckers. You may also encounter mammals, such as squirrels, chipmunks, deer, and black bears. Be sure to keep your distance and respect wildlife.

The trail crosses the South Fork Snoqualmie River several times, which is supplied by snowmelt and rainfall from the surrounding mountains. The river is cold and swift, so be careful when crossing bridges or stepping on rocks. The river also creates magnificent Franklin Falls, which is the highlight of the hike.

The falls drop 135 feet, divided into three tiers. The upper tier is 25 feet high, the middle tier is 40 feet high, and the lower tier is 70 feet high. The lower tier is the most visible and impressive, as it crashes into a large pool that reflects sunlight. The falls are named after Samuel Franklin, a pioneer who settled near them in the 1870s.


Unveiling the Trailhead

Location of the Franklin Falls Trailhead

Franklin Falls Trailhead is located about 50 miles east of Seattle, in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. The trailhead is off Exit 47 on Interstate 90, near Denny Creek Campground.


How to get to Franklin Falls

From Seattle, take Interstate 90 east and follow the signs for Snoqualmie Pass. After passing the summit, take Exit 47 for Denny Creek/Tinkham Road. Turn right at the end of the ramp and cross the freeway. Turn left at the T-junction and follow Forest Road 58 for 2.5 miles. You will see a sign for the Franklin Falls Trailhead on your right. Turn right and park in the large gravel lot.

If you are coming from the east, take Interstate 90 west and take Exit 47 for Denny Creek/Tinkham Road. Turn left at the end of the ramp and cross the freeway. Follow the same directions as above.

If you prefer public transportation, you can take the Sound Transit Route 554 bus from downtown Seattle to the Issaquah Transit Center. From there, you can transfer to the Trailhead Direct bus service that runs on weekends and holidays from April to October. The bus will drop you off at Denny Creek Trailhead, which is about a mile from the Franklin Falls Trailhead. You can walk or bike along the road to get to the trailhead.

Embarking on a journey

Trail Basics

Hiking on Franklin Falls Trail

The Franklin Falls Trail is a 2-mile out-and-back hike that is easy and enjoyable for hikers of all ages and abilities. The trail has a gentle elevation gain of about 400 feet, which makes it a suitable option for beginners and families. The trail is also dog-friendly, so you can bring your furry friend along, as long as they are leashed and well-behaved.

The hike takes about 1 to 2 hours to complete, depending on your pace and how long you want to admire the waterfall. The trail is open year-round, but conditions may vary depending on the season. In the spring and summer, the trail is dry and clear, and the waterfall is at its peak flow. In the fall, the trail is colorful and crisp, and the waterfall is still impressive. In winter, the trail may be snowy and icy, and the waterfall may be partially frozen, creating a magical scene.

Nature’s Tapestry

The Franklin Falls Trail is a visual treat for the eyes, as it showcases the beauty and diversity of the Pacific Northwest. The trail starts in a dense forest of evergreen trees, such as Douglas fir, western hemlock, and western red cedar. The forest floor is carpeted with lush ferns, mosses, and wildflowers, creating a green and vibrant contrast. The trail crosses the South Fork Snoqualmie River several times, offering glimpses of the sparkling water and the rocky shore. The river is home to many fish, such as salmon, trout, and steelhead.

As you hike along the trail, you will notice the scenery changing gradually. The forest becomes more open and the river becomes louder and more noisy. You will also see evidence of the old wagon road, such as wooden bridges, stone walls, and metal rails. The trail offers several scenic viewpoints, where you can stop and enjoy the views of the valley, the mountains, and the river. The trail ends at a wooden platform, where you can see Franklin Falls in all its glory.

Popular Activities

The Franklin Falls Trail is a versatile and fun hike that offers a variety of activities for different interests and preferences. Here are some of the most popular activities on the trail:


Franklin Falls Trail is an ideal hike for nature lovers. The trail is easy and well-marked, and the distance is short and manageable. The trail is suitable for families and kids, as well as solo hikers and couples. The trail is also an ideal option for people who want to warm up or cool down before or after a more challenging hike in the area. This includes the Denny Creek Trail or the Melakwa Lake Trail.

Waterfall Viewing:

Franklin Falls

The Franklin Falls Trail is a must-see for waterfall lovers, as it leads to one of the most stunning waterfalls in Washington. Franklin Falls is a 70-foot waterfall that cascades through three tiers, creating a powerful and mesmerizing spectacle. The waterfall is especially impressive in spring and summer, when snowmelt and rainfall increase water volume and force. The waterfall is also striking in fall and winter, when the colors and ice add more charm and drama. 

The waterfall is best viewed from a wooden platform at the end of the trail. Here, you can feel the humidity and hear the water’s roar. You can also get closer to the waterfall by following a short branch trail that leads to the base of the falls. However, be careful of slippery rocks and strong currents.


The Franklin Falls Trail is an excellent place for a picnic, as it offers many scenic spots to relax and enjoy a meal. You can eat out at the trailhead, where there are picnic tables and a trash bin. You can also picnic along the trail, where there are benches and clearings near the river. You can also picnic at the end of the trail, where rocks and trees surround the waterfall. Wherever you picnic, please remember to pack out what you pack in and leave no trace.


The Franklin Falls Trail is a paradise for photographers, as it offers many opportunities to capture breathtaking scenery, waterfalls, and wildlife. You can photograph the forest, the river, the bridges, the old road, and the valley. You can also take photos of the waterfall from different angles and distances. You can also capture photos of the plants and animals you encounter on the trail, such as flowers, birds, and squirrels.

You can additionally take photos of yourself and your companions, posing with the waterfall or the river as a backdrop. Whatever you choose to photograph, please be respectful of the environment and other hikers, and do not disturb or damage anything.

Unveiling the Gem: Franklin Falls

As you reach the end of the trail, you will hear a loud rumble that grows louder as you get closer. You will feel a surge of excitement and curiosity, wondering what awaits you. You will follow a short branch trail that leads to a wooden platform, where you will finally see the star of the show: Franklin Falls.

Franklin Falls is a sight to behold, a natural wonder that will take your breath away. The waterfall is a 135-foot drop that flows through three tiers, creating a powerful and mesmerizing spectacle.

As you admire the waterfall, you will feel a refreshing mist enveloping you. The mist is refreshing and cooling, especially on a hot summer day. The mist also creates magical effects, as it forms rainbows and sparkles in the air. The mist is a great opportunity for stunning photos, as it adds charm and drama to the scene. You can also use the mist to breathe in the peace and serenity of the place, and feel connected to nature.

Beyond the Franklin Falls

If you are not ready to end your adventure after seeing Franklin Falls, you have some options to extend your hike. This will enable you to explore more of the area. Here are some suggestions for optional detours or nearby trails to try:

Lower Denny Creek Falls:

If you want to see another waterfall, you can follow a path to Lower Denny Creek Falls. This is about a quarter mile downstream of Franklin Falls. The path is not well-maintained and may be overgrown or slippery, so be careful and watch your steps. Lower Denny Creek Falls is a 52-foot slide that flows through a narrow chute, contrasting with Franklin Falls. The falls are best viewed from the opposite bank of the creek, where you can see the full drop and the pool below.

Franklin Ridge:

Franklin Ridge

If you want a more challenging hike, you can climb to the top of Franklin Ridge, which is the highest point on the trail. The ridge is about 1.5 miles from the trailhead, and requires a steep 800 foot climb. The ridge offers panoramic views of Snoqualmie Valley, the Cascade Mountains, and Puget Sound. The ridge is also a good spot for birdwatching, as you may see hawks, eagles, and vultures soaring above.

Leave No Trace

As you enjoy your hike, please remember to follow Leave No Trace principles:

Plan ahead and prepare: 

It is important to do your homework before embarking on an adventure. Learn about the rules and risks of the place you’re going to. Be ready for any surprises, from storms to snakes. Pick a time that’s not too crowded. Go with a small group of friends, or split up if you’re many. Pack your food smartly to reduce trash. 

Travel and camp on durable surfaces: 

Stick to the paths and sites that are already there, whether they’re made of dirt, rock, grass, or snow. Don’t disturb the water’s edge, where plants and animals thrive. Camp far away from lakes and streams. Find a spot that doesn’t need any changes. Don’t move anything around or dig any holes. 

Dispose of waste properly: 

What you bring in, you take out. Check your campsite and rest areas for any signs of food or garbage. Carry out all your trash, leftovers, and litter. Bury your poop in a small hole, far from water, camp, and trails. Cover it up and make it look natural. 

 Respect the past: 

look, but don’t touch any old buildings or items. Keep the rocks, plants, and other things as they are. Don’t bring or spread any foreign species. Don’t make any new structures, furniture, or trenches.

Minimize campfire impacts:

Campfires can cause lasting damage to the backcountry. Choose a lightweight stove for cooking and use a candle lantern for lighting. Where fires are permitted, choose established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires. Keep the fires small. Only use ground sticks that can be broken by hand. Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires, then scatter cool ashes.

Respect wildlife: 

Watch the animals from afar. Don’t chase or get close to them. Don’t give them any food. Feeding wildlife harms their health, changes their natural habits, and makes them vulnerable to dangers. Keep wildlife and your food safe by storing your food and garbage securely. Keep your pets under control, or better yet, leave them at home. Stay away from wildlife during sensitive times: when they mate, nest, raise their young, or in winter. 

Be considerate of other visitors: 

Be kind to other visitors and let them enjoy their time. Be polite. Give way to other trail users. Move to the lower side of the trail when you meet pack stock. Rest and camp far from trails and other visitors. Let nature’s sounds be heard. Don’t be loud or noisy.

Attractive Tourist Spots near Franklin Falls Trailhead

The Franklin Falls Trail is not only a rewarding hike, but also a gateway to many other attractions and activities in the area. Here are some of the points of interest you can explore along the trail or nearby:

Along the Trail

Wooden Bridge:

Wooden Bridge on Franklin Falls Trail

About halfway through the trail, you will cross a charming wooden bridge crossing a gurgling creek. The bridge is a remnant of the old wagon road that connected Seattle with Snoqualmie Pass mining towns. The bridge offers a nice spot to take a break and enjoy the sound of the water and the view of the forest.


 Near the end of the trail, you will reach a viewpoint that overlooks the Snoqualmie Valley and the Cascade Mountains. The viewpoint is a great place to admire the scenery and take photos. On a clear day, you may see Mount Si, Mount Teneriffe, and Rattlesnake Ridge.

Nearby Attractions

Denny Creek Campground:


Denny Creek Campground

If you want to extend your stay and immerse yourself in nature, you can camp at Denny Creek Campground, adjacent to the trailhead. The campground has 33 campsites, a picnic area, and a ranger station. The campground is open from May to September and requires reservations.

Snoqualmie Pass Ski Slopes:

If you are a winter sports enthusiast, you can hit the slopes at the Summit at Snoqualmie. This is a short drive from the trailhead. The Summit at Snoqualmie is a ski resort that offers four mountain areas, 25 lifts, and the most night skiing in the U.S. You can ski, snowboard, snowshoe, or tube on the slopes, or take a lesson if you are a beginner. You can buy lift tickets, season passes, or ticket packs online at the Summit at Snoqualmie.

Snoqualmie Falls:

Snoqualmie Falls

If you are a waterfall lover, you can visit the iconic Snoqualmie Falls, which is about 15 miles away from the trailhead. Snoqualmie Falls is a 270-foot waterfall that is one of the most popular scenic attractions in Washington. You can view the waterfall from the upper or lower observation deck, or hike to the base of the falls. You can also visit the Snoqualmie Falls Hydroelectric Museum and Snoqualmie Depot, which are nearby. You can learn more about the waterfall and its history at Snoqualmie Falls.

Accommodation Options and Local Cuisine

If you want to extend your stay in the Snoqualmie Valley and enjoy more of its attractions and activities, you have plenty of options for accommodation and dining. Here are some accommodation options and local cuisine to try:


If you prefer more comfort and convenience, you can stay in one of the cozy cabins or hotels in nearby towns like North Bend or Snoqualmie. Here are some lodging options:

North Bend Motel:

This is a budget-friendly motel that offers free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, microwaves, and refrigerators. The motel is located in North Bend, close to the outlet mall, restaurants, and trailheads. The motel has 24-hour reception and guest laundry. The motel rate is $99 per night.

Roaring River Bed & Breakfast:

This romantic bed and breakfast offers rooms with free Wi-Fi, private bathrooms, and river views. The bed and breakfast is located on the banks of the Snoqualmie River, surrounded by nature and wildlife. The bed and breakfast serves delicious breakfasts every morning and has a hot tub for guests to relax in. Bed and breakfast costs $175 per night.

Snoqualmie Inn by Hotel America:

This is a modern hotel that offers free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, and coffee makers. The hotel is located on Snoqualmie Ridge, close to the golf course, casino, and waterfall. In addition to a 24-hour front desk, the hotel has a fitness center and a business center. The hotel rate is $139 per night.

here you can fin hotels near franklin falls.


If you love camping, you can pitch your tent at one of the campgrounds near the trailhead. Here are some campgrounds to choose from:

Denny Creek Campground:

This is the closest campground to the trailhead, as it is adjacent to it. The campground has 33 campsites, a picnic area, and a ranger station. The campground is open from May to September and requires reservations. The campground fee is $22 per night.

Tinkham Campground:

This is another campground close to the trailhead, about 2 miles away. The campground has 47 campsites, a picnic area, and vault toilets. The campground is open from May to October and operates on a first-come, first-served basis. The campground fee is $20 per night.

Asahel Curtis Campground:

This is a campground 6 miles from the trailhead, near Snoqualmie Pass. The campground has 21 campsites, a picnic area, and vault toilets. The campground is open from June to September and operates on a first-come, first-served basis. Camping costs $18 per night.

Local Cuisine

If you are hungry for some local dishes, you can try some of the fresh seafood, berries, and craft beers that the Snoqualmie Valley is known for. Here are some local cuisines you can try:


Snoqualmie Valley is blessed with abundant and diverse seafood, such as salmon, trout, steelhead, clams, oysters, and crabs. You can enjoy seafood in various ways, such as grilled, smoked, fried, or baked. You can also try local specialties, such as clam chowder, fish and chips, or seafood pasta.


Snoqualmie Valley is also famous for its berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries. You can pick your own berries from some of the farms and orchards in the area, or buy them at farmers markets and roadside stands. You can also taste berry products, such as jams, pies, muffins, or ice cream.

Craft Beers:

Snoqualmie Valley is home to some of the finest craft breweries in the state. These include Snoqualmie Falls Brewery, Dru Bru, and No Boat Brewing. You can sample some craft beers brewed with local ingredients, such as hops, malt, and water. You can also tour some breweries and learn about the brewing process and history.

If you are looking for a restaurant recommendation, try Montalcino Ristorante Italiano. This is one of the most popular restaurants in Snoqualmie. The restaurant serves authentic Italian cuisine, such as pasta, pizza, seafood, and meat dishes. The restaurant also has a wine bar, a fireplace, and a patio. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, and accepts online reservations.


Franklin Falls Trailhead is a captivating hike that offers a scenic and accessible adventure for everyone. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, a solo traveler or a family, a nature lover or a history buff, you will find something to enjoy and appreciate on this trail. You will be amazed by the beauty and diversity of the forest, the river, and the waterfall. You will feel refreshed and rejuvenated by the fresh air and the mist.

I hope this blog has inspired you to lace up your boots and experience Franklin Falls Trailhead for yourself. I know I did, and I loved every minute of it. Here is what one of my fellow hikers said about the trail:

“This trail is a gem. It’s easy, but not boring. It’s short, but not rushed. It’s close, but not crowded. And the waterfall is stunning. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants a quick and rewarding hike.” – Sarah,

The trail is open year-round, but conditions and waterfall flow may vary depending on the season. In the spring and summer, the trail is dry and clear, and the waterfall is at its peak flow. In the fall, the trail is colorful and crisp, and the waterfall is still impressive. In winter, the trail may be snowy and icy, and the waterfall may be partially frozen, creating a magical scene.



Q: How long is the hike to Franklin Falls?

A: At just 2 miles roundtrip with 400 feet in elevation gain.


Q: How long of a hike is Twin Falls?

A: Twin Falls in Olallie State Park is an easy, 3-mile round trip hike with just 500 feet in elevation gain.


Q: Is Franklin Falls Trailhead open?

A: Throughout the year, the trail is open for visitors to enjoy.


Q: Why is Snoqualmie Falls so popular?

A: It is one of Washington’s popular attractions and is also known internationally for its appearance in the television series.


Q: Is Snoqualmie Falls free?

A: The falls are open from sunrise to sunset, every day, and admission is absolutely free.


Q: Can you swim in Snoqualmie Falls?

A: YES! You can swim and also hike down to the river.


Q: Why is Snake River famous?

A: It is the 9th longest river in the country and its Spans More than 1,000 Miles.


Q: Where is Snake River?

A: The Snake River originates in Wyoming and arcs across southern Idaho.


Q: Is Seven Falls a hike?

A: Yes!! It has two amazing hiking trails and their difficulty level varies along with degrees.


Q: How hard is the 7 Falls hike?

A: It is located in California and the 3.4 mile return route is moderately challenging.


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Thank you for joining me on this amazing journey to some of the most beautiful places on Place Attract! I hope you enjoyed exploring these incredible places with me on your screen. But there is more to see! There are more secrets and splendors to uncover. Whether you are a seasoned traveler or a novice, Place Attract is the perfect place to get travel inspiration. So, don’t wait! Dive deeper into the wonders of our world and find more captivating places like : Kallanai Dam: An Ancient Masterpiece ,   Beautiful Dzukou Valley Trek


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