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Cherry Creek Falls

Our Hiking Time: 3h 30m
Total Ascent: 300ft (150ft in; 150ft out)
Highest Point: 480ft
Total Distance: 5.5 miles
Location: N 47° 46.0500, W 121° 52.4713
Required Permit: None
Difficulty: Easy

Nathan's Photo
Idyllic pockets of nature, often tucked away and preserved on public lands, are sometimes overlooked in favor of expansive vistas and remote alpine lakes. We may forget that some of these areas are relatively close to urban areas and make excellent hiking destinations. Recently we had the chance to check out one such area when we headed out Marckworth State Forest to explore the Cherry Creek Valley and find Cherry Creek Falls.

cherry creek falls marckworth forest hikingwithmybrotherBack in 1890, the Millet and McKay logging company began constructing a logging railroad to move timber out of the Cherry Creek Valley more quickly and efficiently. In 1904, the Cherry Creek Logging and Railway Company bought up Millet and McKay and expanded the railway lines up to a number of logging camps, including one situated near Cherry Creek Falls. Mergers in 1915 created the Cherry Valley Timber Company, but in 1916 F.E. Weyerhaeuser joined the board of directors, and the company was reorganized as the Cherry Valley Logging Company. Over the next decade logging in Cherry Valley began to wind down. In 1926, most of the remaining timberland was sold off, and the 1928 most of the logging equipment was sold to Weyerhaeuser. In 1948 the last of the company’s remaining land was sold and the Cherry Valley Logging Company was no more.

Marckworth State Forest was dedicated in 1967, named in honor of a recent Dean of the University of Washington School of Forestry. Once envisioned as an experimental forest much like Pack Forest, the area has instead grown to over 16,000 acres of working forest managed by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR). However, because the DNR does not currently receive funding to maintain or manage the Forest, the agency has not yet come up with a public use plan, so public information about the area is minimal and there are no official maps.

cherry creek falls marckworth forest hikingwithmybrotherThe trickiest part of this hike is reaching your destination. With its long history of logging, the Forest is riddled with logging roads that can easily turn you around. To add to the confusion, the DNR’s lack of funding for the Marckworth Forest means there are no signs to point you in the right direction. We recommend you print out our directions or download our route and bring along the GPS just in case you take a wrong turn.

From the parking area, find a road with a blue gate a few feet to the south. Follow this logging road over a bridge crossing Margaret Creek and past a spur branching off to the right. At a little under a mile you’ll reach a split in the road. Veer right and uphill and continue a short distance to another branch, where you’ll head right and downhill. Drop down to the end of the road and head left onto a short user trail some helpful folks carved through the brush to connect with another nearby logging road. Once you reach the road, continue straight for about a mile, crossing a number of small streams to reach Hannan Creek. As soon as you cross the creek, look for a trail leading down toward the water. There are a couple of trails here, in various states of use, but all lead to an overlook above Cheery Creek Falls and continue down to the base of the falls.

Because Cherry Creek Falls is a little under the radar for how close it is to Duvall and other nearby urban centers, don’t expect too much company during most of the year – except during the high summer when the falls become a popular swimming area. Once you get past the hassle of finding the falls, this is a very easy and accessible hike. The route is almost exclusively along logging roads, making a fairly level and smooth grade as you travel through a wide range of forest including everything from vine maples and alders to aging hemlock and Douglas fir. This makes it perfect for kids or first-time hikers, offering a little bit of backcountry feel that almost anyone can reach.

cherry creek falls marckworth forest hikingwithmybrotherTo get there, take SR 520 to its end in Redmond and continue on Avondale Road for a mile. Veer right onto Novelty Hill Road. Continue on Novelty Hill Road for about five miles to a T-intersection. Turn left onto Snoqualmie Valley Road and then almost immediately take a right onto 124th Street. After one mile, 124th meets up with the Carnation-Duvall Road (also known as SR 203). Turn left and head through downtown Duvall. As you’re about to leave town, veer right onto Cherry Creek Valley Road. Continue on Cherry Creek Valley Road for just over four miles to Mountain View Road. Turn left and immediately find a small parking area on the right side of the road. Park and find the gated trailhead a few feet to the south. -Nathan

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Lower South Fork Skokomish River Trail #873

Our Hiking Time: 4h
Total Ascent: 800ft (500ft in; 300ft out)
Highest Point: 900ft
Total Distance: 8.5 miles
Location: N 47° 26.5800, W 123° 23.4480
Required Permit: Northwest Forest Pass
Difficulty: Easy

Nathan's Photo Recently, we had a chance to return to the Olympic Peninsula to check out a popular hike that promised moderate elevation gain, old growth forests and the company of a river. The Lower South Fork Skokomish River Trail #873 managed to provide all this and more.

This popular hike has some of the best of the Olympics flora and fauna and is well worth a visit. Not surprisingly, the trail attracts hikers year-round as well as mountain bikers and equestrians, so expect a little company. The hike is approachable for hikers of every skill level, and while the initial 300ft hurdle might be a challengingsouth fork lower skokomish hikingwithmybrother for some youngsters, most of the route is a decent trek for kids. When we visited, large winter blowdowns made the hike a little more difficult, but we anticipate much of this will be cleared as summer gets into full swing.

There's a lot more to the Lower Skokomish River Trail, 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 Olympia to Exit 104 toward Aberdeen and Port Angeles. Follow US 101 along Hood Canal just over 27 miles through Shelton to Skokomish Valley Road. Take a left and follow the road five and a half miles to Forest Service Road #23. Head right and continue a little over nine miles to Forest Service Road #2353. Turn right and cross over the South Fork Skokomish River in less than a mile. Turn left at the four-way intersection and find the trailhead within a few tenths of a mile. –Nathan

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Welldigger's Ass Snowshoe via Yodelin Ski Area

Our Hiking Time: 3h 15m
Total Ascent: 1700ft
Highest Point: 5300ft
Total Distance: 4.0 miles
Location: N 47° 46.1580, W 121° 3.0180
Required Permit: None
Difficulty: Moderate

Nathan's Photo
We managed to work in a short snowshoe a few weeks ago, taking advantage of some decent weather to explore portions of the old Yodelin Ski Area near Stevens Pass. We were aiming for a lonely prominence above the Ski Area unofficially named Welldiggers Ass, where we had heard we could find some decent views. Although trail information was a little sparse, we plugged the coordinates into our GPS and headed out to see what we could find.

The Yodelin Ski Area opened for business on December 27, 1969. At the time, Yodelin boasted a three-story lodge, a single rope tow, and a 1,800-foot double chairlift. Owned by Nason Properties, the operation also worked to develop over 180 homesites into “Yodelin Village” across the highway from the ski area. During 1970, a number of lodges and cabins were built, and the venture appeared off to a good start. However, on January 24, 1971, a large avalanche crushed two cabins, killing four and hitting the resort with over $2,000,000 in legal claims. Despite continued warnings from the State of Washington of how avalanche-prone the area was, Nason Properties continued to develop and expand the Yodelin Ski Area. In 1972, an additional 1,600-foot chairlift was installed, but the expansion only helped the Ski Area to limp along for another few years. By 1976, the Stevens Pass Ski Area bought what remained of Yodelin, including a chairlift, which is still in operation as the Tye-Mill lift. The remaining lift was moved to Crystal Mountain where it serves as the Upper Cambell lift.

yodelin welldiggers ass hikingwithmybrotherThe trail begins from the old Yodelin parking lot, now usually referred to as the overflow lot for Stevens Pass. The route initially follows the remains of the roads used by the defunct ski area, before quickly switchbacking up the mountainside. You will quickly find expansive views of the surrounding landscape as you wind your way up Yodelin’s former slopes. Along the way, keep an eye out for another artifact of the area’s past: the concrete foundations that once supported the ski lifts still trace a route up the mountain.

Once you reach the ridgeline, steer east toward a burned out swath of forest to reach Welldiggers Ass. Slog your way up through a maze of bleach-white tree trunks and into the forest, pushing past the true summit to a viewpoint further east. The views are not stunning, but you should be able to pick out nearby Jim Hill Mountain, Arrowhead Mountain and the Chiwaukums. If you are thirsty for a little more distance, retrace your path and head to the flat-topped highpoint at the southern end of the ridge, known as Point 5023.

yodelin welldiggers ass hikingwithmybrotherShort, sweet and easily accessible, this little snowshoe is perfect if you are short on time or want to add a couple extra miles to your day. As an added bonus, the slopes do not see a lot of foot traffic these days. Backcountry skiers occasionally make their way over from the Steven’s Pass Ski Area, but most do not make it all the way up to Welldiggers Ass, so expect a little solitude at the top.

To get there, take US 2 to Stevens Pass. Continue another mile and a half past the main ski area to an overflow parking lot on the right. Once parking for Yodelin, the Stevens Pass area now owns the lodge here. Park and find the route beginning behind the lodge. -Nathan

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