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boulder river wilderness area

Darrington, WA

Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

Steve sent me a description of a hike in an old growth forest along a river on Monday. The subject line said "How about this one?" It sounded so appealing that I responded "Sounds good," and with that it was settled. We were going to hike in Boulder River Wilderness Area. I could hardly wait until Saturday.
Although the trail is usually described as southwest of the town of Darrington, we were coming from the Seattle area. From I-5, the last town before the turn-off is Oso.
What we found is that the Boulder River Wilderness area is both easily reached and intact, a rare combination. A wilderness untouched by the ravages of man, this old growth forest is a sanctuary of Northwest Coast beauty capped by a 200ft waterfall. After hiking in second growth forests, or through areas recently logged, this trail is really a treat.





Entrance to Boulder River Wilderness Area

At the Boulder River Wilderness Area trailhead

This is a fairly easy hike, especially compared to other waterfalls in Western Washington. The 400 foot elevation gain is gradual and the trail skirts the falls rather than climbing alongside them. However it is a hike into a wilderness area. The generally excellent trail has some rough spots. There is a bridge made of a single log that must be crossed. Still it is easy and safe enough to bring children, and wild and picturesque enough to make an interesting hike for adults. I think it is one of the best day hikes of moderate difficulty in Western Washington.
view of waterfall
views on the trail
by Dianne Bengtson
photography by Steve Robertson

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