Total Ascent: 300ft
Highest Point: 800ft
Total Distance: 2.2 miles
Location: N 47° 17.5980, W 121° 58.0860
Required Permit: None
Continuing this winter’s theme of visiting ghost towns and abandoned places, we recently explored the Franklin Townsite near Black Diamond. Like many former mining communities in Washington, much of the once-bustling town is now gone, much of it reclaimed by nature. Still, enough cement and metal remains to hint at the coal-centered community that called Franklin home for more than 30 years.
Franklin is a fun little adventure on those days that you cannot make it out to the mountains. While it is not exactly a traditional hike, it is a walk steeped in the history of this state. Its obscurity and somewhat confusing access makes it likely that you’ll have the ghost town to yourself and lends a feeling of remoteness. There is also much more to explore in Franklin – it’s possible to head down to the site of the coal bridge or get permission from Palmer to hike to the top of Franklin Hill. A day spent tromping around Franklin is well worth the trip.
There's a lot more to Franklin Townsite, 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 South to 405. Take Exit 4 off 405 onto SR 169. Follow SR 169 for 18 miles into Black Diamond to Lawson St. Take a left and follow Lawson as it changes into Green River Gorge Road. About three-and-a-half miles from Black Diamond as the road bends toward the Green River Gorge Bridge, find a chain-link gate on the right. This is the access point. Find parking on the roadside or at the nearby cemetery. -Nathan
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