Hike With the Kids - Wallace Falls

A waterfall was the deciding factor for our hike with the kids last weekend, at big brother's request.  This helped us narrow our choices down to Franklin Falls or Wallace Falls.  It had been over six years since I did the Wallace Falls hike (it was one of my last hikes while pregnant with big brother) and one that baby girl hasn't been on - we did Franklin Falls when she was a wee thing...

Look! There she is, peeking out over daddy's shoulder.

My husband has done the out and back at Wallace Falls to the middle falls outlook with my son when he was three.
Same spot at three, and six years old
We figured that baby girl would be good to go, now that she's three.  Yeaaaah, not so much...  We forgot how clumsy she is and how much she'd prefer to be carried.  My husband got a bit of a bonus workout, carrying those additional 30+ pounds!   

Carrying, always carrying her...
Generally speaking, I'd say this hike is best for kids in a carrier, kids four and older, or brave, independent and nimble three year olds.  It's a step up from a nature walk: just under 4 miles round trip and about 1200 feet in elevation gain.  There are quite a few rocks to navigate and exposed tree roots, as well as a couple of narrow switchbacks.  That being said, it's a great hike for families: a short drive from Seattle, a decent sized parking lot (make sure to bring your Discover Pass), picnic tables and bathrooms (not port-a-potties) at the trailhead.  We headed out in the late morning, arriving around 10:30 and there were still a few parking spots left.  It took about an hour and a half to hike 1.8 miles to the picnic shelter and viewing area at middle falls, stopping for water breaks, petting dozens of dogs, and photo ops.  

main photo op of the falls

Yep, 50min miles is about the right pace with two small kids.  But, the hike back down went a lot quicker - about an hour. 

Lots of stops along the river where you can walk down to sit on the rocks

great view near the trailhead of Mt Baring, Philadelpia Mtn, Mt Index, and Mt Persis (just telling you what the sign says; after 9 years in Washington I can only name Mt Rainier, Mt Baker, Mt St. Helens and Mt Si on sight)

It makes for a perfect day to hike up, have a snack, take pictures, head back down and eat a picnic lunch at the trailhead.  Hopefully baby girl will be a bit more brave, and less clumsy, next year...



  1. Wallace falls is a great hike especially with kids. Its been years since I did it. We were going to do it last year but did boulder river falls instead.

  2. Fun! What a beautiful day for a hike! I hope the weather shapes up so my boys and I can go hiking now that school is out:) You should come to my bootcamp on Saturday! If you want to blog about it, you can do it for free;) Info is on my blog under the "bootcamp" tab.

    1. ahhh! one of these days, Saturdays are long run days if I can fit it in and I save bootcamp for while I have daycare during the week. I'll bee cheering RnR this Saturday, too!