It was Ben’s idea for the hike at Boulder River (Forest Service, Green Trails #77 (Oso) and/or #109 (Granite Falls)), and he couldn’t have picked a better day. The weather on Saturday was mostly calm, and there was no rain until the evening when we returned to Bellingham.
I’m convinced the best way to do a day hike is to leave early. The earlier, the better. For me, fewer other hikers equals a better trail experience. We left at 7:30 am and arrived at the Boulder River Trail trailhead around 9:00.
The trail follows Boulder River for 4.5 miles until it ends at a smallish campground next to the river. Some maps show the trail going over the river and up the hill on the other side, but since we all left our hip waders in our other pants, we figured this was a decent place as any to call our final destination.
Even if you don’t want to do the full 4.5 miles, you’re in luck. There are two tall unnamed falls 1 mile and 2 miles in, giving you a decent destination without all the work. Boulder Falls itself is not visible from the main trail (we didn’t know this at the time, or else we would have looked for it).
This is a low altitude hike that is available all year (from what I’ve heard). We got an early start, and we only encountered 2 people on our way in; on the way out, we passed 25+ people and 5 dogs.
Directions from I-5: Get off I-5 at the Arlington/Darrington/SR-530 exit, and follow the signs to Darrington. Somewhere before mile marker 40 on SR-530, turn right (south) on French Creek Road/Forest Road 2010. Follow it 4.5-ish miles to its end. Forest Service Pass required.
The water falls gave me a chance to play with shutter speed on a borrowed fancy-pants camera.
From river level:
There were also some great moments with the sun shining through the mist as the air warmed up.
More pics are available here.