Franklin Falls is located in central Washington’s verdant Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest, about an hour east of Seattle. The cascading waterfall sits at the end of Franklin Falls Trail – a short yet popular hike near the Snoqualmie Pass.
Franklin Falls is a Washington favorite for many reasons. The trail is easy enough for the whole family to enjoy, though hikers should be prepared to ascend some stairs and navigate over slippery rocks.
The well-kept compact dirt and gravel path is straightforward to follow, and the views along the way are sure to impress.
Distance: 2 miles
Type of Trail: Out & Back
Pass: Northwest Forest Pass
Hiking Franklin Falls
The Franklin Falls trailhead is just off Interstate 90 and boasts a large parking lot. However, it would be best if you still tried to arrive early, as spots fill up quickly. There are vault toilets near the trailhead, though you may want to bring your toilet paper as they are known to run out – this is a busy spot, after all!
Once you get on the trail, you’ll be immersed in true Northwestern terrain. Towering pines, glossy ferns, and moss-covered boulders line the route as it meanders through old-growth forests. The first mile of the path follows the south fork of the Snoqualmie River before descending towards Franklin Falls.
The trail’s incline and stairs may be strenuous on hikers with bad knees, but there are plenty of areas to stop off and enjoy the views while you rest. The most challenging part of the Franklin Falls Hike is the last stretch near the river’s edge. The rocks here are almost always slippery, so take your time meandering down to the water.
Once you reach the end of the trail, sit back and relax as you take in epic vistas of the 70-foot Franklin Falls. You can pack a picnic, enjoy lunch with a view, and even dip in the summer if the water is warm.
Beware that no matter what season you decide to hike Franklin Falls, you are likely to get a little wet from the spray of the falls.
You can hike out the way you came in or add a detour along the Wagon Road Trail, located about a quarter-mile from Franklin Falls.
When to Hike Franklin Falls
Summer is the most popular time to complete the Franklin Falls hike, but spring and fall are great seasons to tackle the trail.
Unfortunately, road closures add a layer of difficulty for winter hiking, and you’ll need to hike in from Denny Creek Road, which adds about four miles to the hike.
RELATED: 21 Epic Waterfalls in Washington
More Waterfall Hikes Near Franklin Falls
If you’d like to spend the entire day chasing waterfalls, check out these hikes near Franklin Falls. These three falls are the closest waterfalls to Seattle too!
Easy, 1.5-mile, out and back hike
Snoqualmie Falls is another quick hike that offers stunning views of native flora and fauna and a cascading waterfall. The trail is easy for hikers of all ages, with just one tricky descent. From Franklin Falls, head northwest for about 30 miles via I-90 to reach Snoqualmie Falls.
Moderate, 2.5-mile, out and back hike
Twin Falls is a bit more difficult than the Snoqualmie Falls and Franklin Falls hikes. However, this makes it a stellar option for those searching for a challenge. To reach the trailhead, head west along I-90 for about 20.5 miles. Note that a Discover Pass is required for this hike.
I’ve been perpetually traveling and living around the world for years but it’s hard to beat Washington and the PNW. After years of road-tripping the area, I guess you can say I know it pretty well! When I’m not writing guides for you, you can catch me somewhere petting a dog, attempting to surf, hiking a volcano, or stuffing my face with bread and cheese.