Our Northwest

A cool escape from upcoming NW heat wave

Wednesday, August 17, 2016by  Jon Osterberg

Head to Franklin FallsIf you like it hot, you’ll love our weather starting Thursday. Forecasters say we’ll hit the low 90s, which should remind you of last summer, when Seattle set a record for the number of days exceeding 90 degrees.

But if you hate the heat, you can run for the hills – literally – and cool off only 50 minutes east of town.

Just be prepared for crowds.

Franklin Falls and the Denny Creek cataracts offer cool water, shade, and a delightful walk through forest. To get there, drive east from Seattle on Interstate 90 to Denny Creek exit 47, a few miles before Snoqualmie Pass.

Hike Denny Creek TrailJust past Denny Creek campground, you’ll find the trailhead that leads to Franklin Falls. The path follows the South Fork Snoqualmie River, ascending gently for one mile until the 70-foot waterfall comes into view. Here the trail descends slightly into mist, so take care not to slip on wet rocks and slick tread as you amble to the base of Franklin Falls. Soak up the spray and skip a few rocks in the plunge pool.

Make your trip a double delight by backtracking to the trailhead. Walk or drive another quarter-mile west to the start of Denny Creek Trail #1014, which leads to Melakwa Lake. But you need not hike that far (4.5 miles) for refreshing fun.

People enjoying Denny CreekHike on soft soil through cool forest and cross Denny Creek on a wooden bridge. In less than a mile, about when you feel like you’re entering wilderness, don’t be discouraged if you hear auto traffic. Look up and you’ll see the huge I-90 overpass looming above. Scurry under it and soon, after a few inclines, the trees will part at 1.25 miles and you’ll see the creek ahead.

Descend to the water that babbles, sloshes, and gathers in pools atop long slabs of polished granite. Dappled sun reaches through the firs and hemlocks, so it’s easy to find sunshine or shade. Expect to share your little slice of heaven with picnickers, families, and squealing kids.

When you return to civilization, you might treat yourself to ice cream or a shake at Scott’s Dairy Freeze in North Bend, a popular fast-food eatery since 1951.

Visit our NW Hikes page to see more of PEMCO employees' favorite outdoor destinations. 

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