Boulder River Waterfall Hike
Location: Darrington, WA.
Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
The day was warm, the sun was bright and we were headed to a hike we had found in a book the night before. The original plan was to hike at Snow Lake near Mt. Rainier but clouds were in the forecast over the mountain, so we decided to wait for a clear weekend so that we could actually see Mt. Rainier.
Clouds weren’t an issue at Boulder River. It was a beautiful day in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. This hike is near Darrington not too far from where we live, so it was a short drive. This is a beautiful old growth lowland forest which is rare in these usually heavily logged areas. The trail is pretty short, only a mile and a quarter (remember we have little legs with us that tire easily) and the elevation gain is only 250 ft.
Our destination was a 200 ft. waterfall on Boulder River. The trail was maintained pretty well except for a downed tree which the kids were fascinated by. The kids seemed to really enjoy this trail for there were many interesting things to see. There were a few spots along the trail where the dirt was so eroded we could see the roots from the trees above us on the left side. This was very exciting to the kids as they climbed up to touch the roots and tried to hang on to them. The massive trees and stumps were also a big treat for them as they climbed to see how high they could get and posed for a picture or two. The moss here was incredible also. It hung from the large trees, carpeted the forest floor, and covered the fallen logs.
We could hear the falls almost the entire way, which increased our excitement and puzzled the younger kids. They wanted to SEE the falls. We brought Honey (our Golden Retriever) with us which turned out to be not so great for Eric for she was pulling him the entire way. So aside from a jump into the river, Honey probably didn’t enjoy much of the hike. She will get better with experience.
The only complaining heard during the day was from my youngest daughter. The elevation was higher than the other hikes she has been on, (Boardman Lake, Troublesome Creek, etc.) so during the few steeper parts of the trail we had to encourage her. We told her that with each hike she would get stronger, and that the trails would get easier even though we would be choosing longer trails.
When we reached the falls we had to climb down a small steep trail to get to the river. I wasn’t sure how the little ones would do, but to my surprise they did very well. Once we reached the bottom the kids were almost as excited as the adults were.
The falls were amazing. There were two falls next to each other cascading down the mossy rocks and they were breathtaking. I couldn’t take enough pictures. When the kids settled down we had our lunch amongst the boulders and logs, and the kids seemed to eat pretty fast.
There were so many places to explore at the base of the falls. I think we stayed for about 2-3 hours. In this time the kids climbed every boulder, found every secret trail to the other parts of the river, and they each took turns accidentally stepping into the shallow water creating very wet hiking boots.
They also had fun playing with the clay mud they found in the shallow part of the river, instant play-doh. David, one of the more adventurous members of our little group, spent his time trying to get to the falls. He jumped from boulder to boulder, and walked across a fallen tree that lhad anded over the river. He did make it to the falls and did get some great photos, but while no one was looking he fell into the river. We all would have loved to have seen that. J
We were all pretty daring that day trying to get closer to the falls. We all found the courage to walk across a fallen tree (very scary, but not the one pictured above) to get a better look, even the younger ones made it across.
The hike back to the trailhead went quickly and except for one minor scrape on the knee, everything went very well. We had fun and the kids are asking when the next hike is so I am sure they had a great day also.