Saturday, March 2, 2013
Northwest Hike #3: Twin Falls
Twin Falls Trail is about 30 minutes from Seattle. It's easy to find and has a big parking lot at the trail head with a kind of outhouse thingie - a 'toilet' over a hole in the ground with a shack around it, I forget what they're called. You need a Discover Pass to park here, which you can buy at Fred Meyer or elsewhere in town to avoid having to find the ranger station when you arrive, or pay the day rate (which is reasonable if you rarely hike, but if you hike a few times a year the Discover Pass is nice to have). The big parking lot is because it's popular, so if you want a close hike with a well-worn path and dogs (who are allowed here on a leash - please be courteous and keep yours on its leash, which seems obvious, but not everyone does) and toddlers (leashes not required) to pat as they pass, this is it. Not so much with the silence of nature and the stillness of solitude.
This hike was considered 'easy' in my Moon hiking guide, but I would say it's definitely medium difficulty. For example, I would not bring my mom and dad, even though they are in reasonable shape. My dog had a great time. There are lots of places to pull over and have a snack and a sit if you want to refuel, picnic, nap or catch your breath.
The trail leads up some sometimes-steep inclines through old-growth forests to two views of a large waterfall, with a smaller waterfall above it. Near the end of the trail you can walk down a wooden bridge/path to two small overlook decks, which should be a mandatory part of the hike because they gave the best, closest views of the bigger of the waterfalls
Note: when you get to the second waterfall, you are pretty much done with this trail so you can head back. If you want to keep going, the trail goes on and connects with another trail. We went on a bit thinking we might see something more spectacular, but then just turned back after some time. If you are interested in a much longer hike, this would be recommended (see the map above), if you can get close enough of a peek at it.