Total Ascent: 700ft
Highest Point: 1560ft
Total Distance: 8.2 miles
Location: N 48° 13.1220, W 121° 46.7100
Required Permit: None
This week, we were looking for a gentle hike that would not be too taxing on my still-recovering foot. After some research we settled on a fairly popular riverside hike in the Darrington area: the Boulder River Trail.
It’s unsurprising that the Boulder River Trail is a popular hike. This trail gently takes you through a dramatic and impressive landscape. Once beyond Feature Show Falls, the forest becomes moss-laden and heavy, losing much of the undergrowth prominent in the early portions of the trail. The river remains a nearly constant companion, always within hearing distance even as it slips from view. Creeks cut across the trail, winding down to the river in contrast to the more dramatic cascades on the opposite bank. Even the wildlife was unexpected: water ouzels, wood ducks and hummingbirds all made an appearance. With only a few hundred feet of elevation gain and worthy destinations early-on, this trail is an excellent way to give children or the reluctant hiker a taste of the wilderness. One caution: when we hiked this trail, there were a couple of significant blowdowns that were a little tricky to navigate. Most hikers shouldn’t have much of a problem with these.
There's a lot more to Boulder River, and you can learn all about it in our book, Hiking Through History Washington. You'll find a trail map, route descriptions, history, and more for this and many more hikes throughout the State. Help support hikingwithmybrother.com and the work we do by picking up a copy!
To get there, take I-5 north to Exit 208 and drive east on SR 530 for about 19 miles to milepost 41. Immediately after the milepost, turn right onto FR #2010 – some maps call this French Creek Road, but it’s not well signed. Follow the unpaved road almost four miles to its end and the trailhead. -Nathan
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