Wallace Falls is a popular outdoor destination for hikers and outdoor lovers and is only about an hour's drive from Seattle making it a great day trip destination. The area boasts typical Pacific-Northwest lush, green visuals (think evergreen tree's dripping in mosses and pretty ferns) and is the perfect place to visit on a Washington road trip to get a feel for the Upper Left. Wallace Falls State Park is located very close to the town of Gold Bar and the trail head is pretty easy to find with drinking water and restroom available.
Distance: 4.5 miles round-trip
Elevation Gain: 1400 feet
Time: 2.5 hours
Best Times To Hike: April to November
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Hiking Wallace Falls
Wallace Falls is a 5.6 mile round trip hike that will lead you along the Woody Trail to the Lower, Middle and Upper Falls. This trail is quite popular so expect it to be busy, particularly on weekends.
We hiked the trail in early December so it was cold but never the less still heavily trafficked. Due to it's low elevation, the falls are usually accessible year round as it does not receive as much snow as some other popular hiking trails in Washington. This trail is rated as moderate with an elevation gain of 1200 feet but most people will only hike up to the Middle Falls where you can still get some amazing views. View a detailed map of Wallace Falls State Park and trail map here.
Starting the trail
The first portion of the trail is fairly flat and easy. About a half mile from the trail head you will reach a fork in the road where you continue to the right eventually coming to the bank of Wallace River. Along the trail you will be greeted by a Wordsworth quote etched into a wooden signpost that will remind you why spending time in nature is so important.
The trail then breaks from the river and encounters the first steep climb to the Lower Falls two miles from the trail head. Here you will find a covered picnic area if you wish to stop for lunch.
The Middle Falls overlook provides the trail’s most impressive scenery with a panoramic view of the Skykomish River valley and the distant Olympic Mountains on the horizon. Due to the weather, our view of the distant mountains was not so clear.
Many hikers choose to turn around here at the Middle Falls and there is no shame in doing so. You will see some of the best views from this section of the hike. For those who choose to march on, indeed you will be rewarded by more stunning views.
From the Middle Falls continue on to the Upper Falls along a series of steep switchbacks to the top. The climb from the Middle Falls to the Upper Falls is tough but wait until you see the views! You will be glad you kept going.
Getting to Wallace Falls
Directions from Seattle to Wallace Falls State Park: get on Interstate 5 and head north to State Route 520 and head east until you reach the 405 north bound. Then take WA-522 east and take the exit for US-2 east. Stay on this road until you reach the town of Gold Bar and take a left on 1st street and then a right at May Creek road. Continue onto Ley road until you reach the Wallace Falls parking lot.