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Located in the Cascade foothills near the town of Gold Bar, the Wallace Falls Railway Trail (Railroad Grade) climbs 2.5 miles to meet a separate, 1.5-mile riverside ascent to Wallace Falls.
The trail traces the path of wood-fired logging trains, owned by the Great Northern Railroad (GN), which hauled timber to mills and to the GN depot at Gold Bar. Industrialist Friedrich Weyerhaeuser purchased 900,000 acres of surrounding land from GN owner James J. Hill and founded Weyerhaeuser Timber Company. Washington later purchased a portion of the land, and in 1977, Wallace Falls State Park opened to the public.
From the trailhead, you'll quickly reach a fork. (Forking right takes you onto the steep, 1.5-mile Woody Trail, perched above the river.) Forking left allows you to continue on the Wallace Falls Railway Trail, which boasts a smooth biking surface and more gradual hiking terrain. Broad switchbacks take you through the mossy, wet forest—home to birds and deer, as well as predatory creatures, such as bears and coyotes, that remain largely out of sight.
Staying on the railroad grade, you'll continue past several trails to the steep drop of the North Fork of the Wallace River. Use caution to ensure a safe crossing. At 1.5 miles, a kiosk and a picnic table mark the intersection with a trail that leads to Wallace Lake.
A riverside viewpoint and picnic shelter provides a vista of the Lower Falls, followed shortly by the Middle Falls, the park's highest at 265 feet. Many trail users stop here to avoid the 0.5 mile of steep, short switchbacks to the less dramatic Upper Falls viewpoint at 1,700 (vertical) feet. Beautiful views of the mountains make the descent an enjoyable one.
To reach Wallace Falls State Park from Interstate 405, take Exit 23. Follow State Route 522 E for 12.9 miles. Take US 2 E for 13.4 miles. Follow signs to the park, and turn left (north) onto First Street (at the park sign). Proceed for 0.4 mile. Turn right onto May Creek Road. Continue a little more than 1 mile to the park and trailhead.
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