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9 Kid-Friendly Waterfall Hikes for Seattle-Area Families

Rambles alongside a roaring cascade, for every age

Lauren Braden

Published on: May 02, 2023

9 Kid-Friendly Waterfall Hikes for Seattle-Area Families

Franklin Falls
Franklin Falls. Credit Jon Vonica/Flickr CC

Franklin Falls, Snoqualmie Pass

Editor’s note: The trail to Franklin Falls is currently closed for trailhead construction during summer 2023. Save this hike for next spring!

Kids will love: Actual ruts of pioneer-era wagon wheels on this history hike.

Highlights: From the trailhead, the short, easy trail to Franklin Falls runs alongside the old wagon track that led early settlers over the Cascades to lower Puget Sound. The falls are one mile in, but the whole path is scenic as it hugs the south fork of the Snoqualmie River. There is a drop-off on one side of the trail as you near the falls, occasionally fenced but sometimes not. Hold tight to little ones!

Your hike in finishes with a short, rocky ascent up to the base of the impressive falls, which spill from the top of a sheer rock face and send a fine mist into the air. Watch safely from the edge of the waterfall’s pool without venturing in; loose rocks sometimes tumble down with the water.

The Forest Service keeps the Franklin Falls Trail well maintained, but on the soggiest of days you may be dodging puddles, so wear waterproof shoes. The rocky path near the falls may be icy in winter and not suitable for small kids.

Distance: 2 miles round-trip, 400 feet elevation gain

Info: Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Franklin Falls Trailhead

Conditions: Check current conditions and trip reports at the WTA.

Directions: Take I-90 east to exit 47. Turn left (north), cross the overpass and then make a right when the road comes to a “T.” After a quarter-mile, turn left on Denny Creek Road (FS58). Follow this road 2.5 miles to just past Denny Creek Campground and turn left onto a paved road. Parking is on the left and the trailhead is on the right. A Northwest Forest Pass is required to park.

More great hikes for Puget Sound-area families:

Editor’s notes: Image credit this page: Jon Vonica/Flickr CC. This article was originally published several years ago and updated most recently for 2023.

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