Mileage: 10.1 miles RT
Elevation Gain/Highest: 1544ft /1844ft
Map: Green Trails Index No 142
Favorite Eats After Hike: Wallace Falls Café
12/11/2016 With the weather less than favorable and a high avalanche warning for the day, I opted for a morning at Wallace Falls State Park so I wouldn’t have to go back to work tomorrow without my weekend dose of nature.
As my normal MO for Wallace, I got there early and was hiking along about 8:30am. I decided to take my chances and leave my snowshoes in the car and only bring my microspikes as I expected things to be icy. There were about 6 cars in the parking lot and I only saw 5 people in the beginning with no one by the time I got to the middle falls.
There were patches of snow from the start in the exposed areas but under canopy the trail was just wet and muddy. There was more snow by the river than I thought there would be, I was glad to have my poles so I could keep a good pace without worrying about slipping.
I made it to the upper falls via the Woody Trail by 9:45am and then took the trail up to the DNR road. I remember the first time I took this trail it seemed to be nothing more than a boot path but now the trail is easy to find and marked with blue blaze.
There wasn’t much snow to begin with but it wasn’t long until I was postholing. It was just enough to slow me down but not enough that snowshoes would have been useful. The snow began to fall in fat, sloppy clumps and dust the trees.
The DNR road is not the most beautiful route but I did have it too myself which was is often hard to find in the state park. If you are taking this route there are signs to follow but several roads leading off the main one so having a map is handy. There had been prints from one other person but I couldn’t tell if it was today or late yesterday and they didn’t go all the way to the lake.
There are two streams across the road before you get to the lake that require some leaping to keep the feet dry.
I got to the lake at 11am and could see footprints in the snow that had come up from the Greg Ball trail, maybe earlier this morning. I walked around to the far side of the lake just before you head up to Jay Lake and walked down to the shoreline on the dry inlet for a brief snack. The wind was cold blowing over the lake and falling snow had me putting on several more layers from my pack. It seems most of my trips here are during winter when the cold makes my stays short!
I opted to save Jay Lake for another day and headed back around the lake and down the Greg Ball Trail to Woody and out. I hadn’t seen anyone since the start and only saw about 4 groups once I got back on the Woody Trail and towards the trailhead, I was back to my car by 1:15pm. There were still only about 15 cars in the parking lot, I guess the weather had kept the crowds at home. I did notice signs of the increasing popularity of this trail by the fact they have had to install No Parking signs every 20ft down the road outside the park boundary.
Directions: From Everett, follow Hwy 2 for 28 miles east to Gold Bar. Soon after driving into town, turn left onto 1st Street, signed for Wallace Falls State Park. Proceed for 0.4 mile to a four way stop. Turn right onto May Creek Road and continue for 1.5 miles to Wallace Falls State Park. Come early, although there is lots of parking it fills up fast, especially during the summer. You will need a Discover Pass.