Wallace Falls hike was one of the first hikes I checked out after moving to Seattle, and it was such a treat to revisit this gorgeous spot. There are so many trails that really aren’t that scenic until you get to the viewpoint, but this trail is MAGIC the whole way. If you’re into lush forest views with charming bridges, river views, waterfalls and more, Wallace Falls Trail is for you.
I’m going to break down everything you need to know about Wallace Falls Trail in Wallace Falls State Park. What to expect from your visit, what to bring, and when to plan your trip!
Land Acknowledgement: Coast Salish, Tulalip, and Skykomish Land. Find what Native Land you are visiting by using the app Native Land! I encourage you to read the history and culture of the Indigenous people who’s land you are visiting! And support financially if you have the means to.
All photos in collaboration with Johnathon DeSoto.
- Overview of Wallace Falls Trail
- Getting to Wallace Falls and Route Alternatives
- How to Get to Wallace Falls Trailhead
- Parking at Wallace Falls Hike
- Wallace Falls Trail Report and Favorite Photo Spots
- What to Pack for this Trail
- When to Visit Wallace Falls Trailhead
- Other Nearby Destinations in Washington!
Overview of Wallace Falls Trail
- Hike Length: 5 miles roundtrip
- Elevation Gain: 1,482 ft
- Trail Type: Out and Back
- Pass Required? Yes. Discover Pass or $10 day pass (available by credit car at pay machine in parking lot)
- Best Time to Visit: May – October are the best seasons for this hike. Winter hiking is possible depending on conditions (more info later in this post)
- Dog Friendly? Yes! Dogs are allowed on this trail on leash
- Trail Rating: Moderate
- Popularity: Crowded on weekends
Getting to Wallace Falls and Route Alternatives
If you pull up the Wallace Falls map on AllTrails or look at the map in the parking lot, you’ll see there are a few routes from the trailhead to get to the falls and a lake.
This is the trail I decided on, and I highly recommend it. Woody Trail is the main trail out of the parking lot that later leads you to alternative route options. Wallace Falls via Woody Trail is how this route is listed on AllTrails. Throughout this trail, there is good signage to stay on route, but I always suggest downloading an offline map.
But seriously, this trail was so incredibly scenic. The bridges over creeks and rivers are absolutely stunning. It looks straight out of a fairytale.
Railroad Grade Trail
Railroad Grade Trail splits off to the left of Woody Trail about .4 miles into the trail. This trail is a wider, smoother trail that offers a more gradual ascent. This route has way less tree routes and would be a great option for mountain biking and avoiding some of the crowds.
However, you will miss out on some of the river views and this route does add on 1 mile each way. If you take Railroad Grade trail both ways, you’ll miss out on the best waterfall views too! For more information click here.
Wallace Lake via Woody Trail and Greg Ball Trail
If you’re looking for a longer, more challenging day of hiking, you can add on Wallace Lake. When you reach the River Overlook on Woody Trail, you’ll see a trail junction with signage for Wallace Lake. This would add on an additional 3 miles one way.
Make sure whatever route you decide on doesn’t skip over Middle Falls viewpoint!!! Because that is definitely the star of this Pacific Northwest hike. If you were to try both the lake and falls in one day, it would be around 12 miles roundtrip. Check out more information on AllTrails here. I definitely recommend downloading a map if you’re taking this route.
How to Get to Wallace Falls Trailhead
Wallace Falls State Park is about 1 hour East of Seattle in Gold Bar Washington just off of Highway 2. It is located in the stunning Skykomish River Valley. Google Maps and AllTrails directions take you right to the trailhead with no issues. You will turn left onto 1st street from US-2. It is marked with signs that lead you to the parking lot.
There are plenty of roadside coffee shops and diners along the way if you need to fuel up before this hike!
- Sultan Bakery
- Windmill Espresso
Parking at Wallace Falls Hike
Luckily, Wallace Falls Trailhead has a large parking lot. I went on a Thursday afternoon in late March and had absolutely no issue parking. Weekdays and going in the Spring or Fall means way less people.
BUT, since this trail is one of the closer, accessible trails to Seattle, I recommend getting an early start on the weekends. Better early than waiting around for parking. I’d recommend getting there no later than 10 am if the weather is decent.
Parking Passes and Fees
Washington is honestly pretty confusing with their passes. When I lived there I annually paid for a National Park Pass, Northwest Forest Pass and Discover Pass UGH. So which pass do you need to visit Wallace State Park?
The Discover Pass is $30 Annually, so if you’re going to go to more than 3 locations that require this pass, save some money and hassle by just getting this pass ahead of time HERE.
Alternatively, you can pay for a $10 DAY PASS online OR on site at the pay machine that takes VISA and Mastercard. I believe there are envelopes for cash as well.
Wallace Falls Trail Report and Favorite Photo Spots
The trail starts to the left of the bathrooms and follows a wider gravel path under electrical wires. At first I thought it was raining really hard because of how loud the electrical lines are, but this section doesn’t last long. Within a quarter mile you’ll come to a turnstile type gate.
You’re now on Woody Trail. The trees are stunning! And hiking along the river is lovely.
About 0.6 miles into the trail, there is a small 0.2 mile loop to the left called Small Falls Trail. We checked it out and really enjoyed hanging out there and taking some photos!
At 1.4 miles into the hike, you’ll see where two rivers meet! There’s a little viewing area along the river and to the left is another connecting trail to Railroad Grade Trail and Greg Ball Trail. We stayed on Woody Trail going straight.
There are so many cute bridge sections and some very wide sections of bridge through the trees and over a river that were lovely photo spots.
Your next stop is at Lower Wallace Falls at 1.7 miles. I really enjoyed this viewpoint because you could see the entirety of this waterfall. We took a little break here and enjoyed the sound of rushing water.
At 2.2 miles in is Middle Wallace Falls. It is definitely a steeper section of trail to get here, and I was really starting to feel the switchbacks haha. But oh my gosh it was so worth it. Middle Falls viewpoint is stunning. Definitely my favorite view on this trail.
We decided not to make the final push to Upper Falls as we would be running low on daylight. But everyone that came back down from the Upper Wallace Falls view said it was okay, but Middle Falls is where the views are the best.
We chose to go back to the parking lot on the same trail. Because I love seeing trails from a different perspective and it was a stunning and much faster hike back to the car.
What to Pack for this Trail
If you are not familiar with the 10 Essentials make sure to check them out. The 10 essentials are items that should be brought on every adventure to ensure your safety.
- Hiking Shoes (Boots if it’s muddy!)
- Day Backpack
- Rain Jacket
- 10 essentials (water, water filter, navigation, sun protection, extra food, headlamp, etc.)
When hiking in the PNW I like to dress in layers. Since I went in March, I wore a baselayer, fleece, and had a puffy jacket packed. I also always like to bring an extra pair of socks. ESPECIALLY in the spring when trails tend to be muddy and wet.
When to Visit Wallace Falls Trailhead
The best time to visit this area along the Wallace River is between May-October. However, if you’re okay with a little less than decent weather, going off season will allow you to have some of this magical trail to yourself!
I went in late March and got lucky with a day of no rain. In the Spring, expect wet, muddy trail conditions. It may be helpful to use hiking poles during this season.
Winter hiking here is also an option! When preparing to hike in the winter I make sure to check trip reports on Washington Trails Association and AllTrails to see if anyone has done the hike recently and what to expect. Snowshoes and/or microspikes, as well as trekking poles would probably be needed and can be rented from REI if you do not own them!
Summer in Washington is pretty magical. Prepare for cool mornings and evenings and HOT afternoons. I definitely recommend packing extra water during this season.
Other Nearby Destinations in Washington!
If you’re visiting Washington and looking for more adventures be sure to check out my other blog posts:
If you’re looking to stay nearby Wallace Falls, I highly recommend checking out Sky Frame Cabin
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