Monday, May 11, 2009

Twin Falls Natural Area, Olallie State Park

May 10, 2009

Twin Falls Natural Area, Olallie State Park (North Bend), May 10, 2009

This trail gets off to an easy start and is relatively flat the first half mile as it parallels the South Fork of the Snoqualmie River. Spurs lead to picnic sites beside the river.

The trail leaves the river, climbing to intersect a narrow ridge – here a bench awaits hikers needing a rest. The trail descends then proceeds with moderate ups and downs, passing an ancient Douglas fir some call the Grandfather Tree.

A little further along stairs descend to a platform overlooking Lower Twin Falls – a dizzying view, any time of the year. It can be a little spooky when the falls are running high. The platform leans out over a cliff where there is nothing between you and the water but air.

With the combination of a sunny day and it being Mother’s Day there were lots of hikers on the trail, mostly families with children. They began to catch up with us as we dawdled, taking photographs. We enjoyed watching children react to the magic of the outdoors – one little boy climbed a boulder beside the trail, proud as only a budding climber could be.

By the time we reached the bridge over the South Fork of the Snoqualmie River the bridge was in the sun making it a handy picnic spot, especially for those with children. Some of the smaller children were afraid to cross the bridge so high above the waterfall but encouraging parents soothed their fears and helped them across.

Most hikers made the bridge their turnaround; we continued to the Upper Overlook, a good turnaround with another view of the waterfalls and not so crowded.

Low elevation wildflowers are at their best – yellow violets, salmonberry, bleeding hearts, a few trilliums, serviceberry, spring beauties, vanilla leaf (no flowers yet), Corydalis, false lily of the valley.

To get to the trailhead: From Seattle go east on I-90, get off at Exit 34 (468th Avenue). Turn right on 468th Avenue SE, then left on SE 159th Street. Continue to road end, parking and facilities, elevation 620 feet.

The hike is about 3 miles round trip to the bridge over Twin Falls, elevation gain about 500 feet. The map is Green Trails Issaquah Alps Series No. 205S Rattlesnake Mountain.

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