The Northwest is an amazing place to call home, because we’re totally spoiled by nature. There aren’t many places you can hop in your car, drive to a trailhead, and have a short hike to a beautiful waterfall. That’s exactly what you get when you visit Denny Creek Trail and stroll to Keekwulee Falls.
Denny Creek Trail is located about 50 miles outside of Seattle near Snoqualmie Pass. To get there: drive about an hour east on I-90 to Exit 47 (Denny Creek/Tinkham Road) and then turn left off the exit. Drive to a T in the road and turn right on Forest Road 58. Drive about 2.5 miles and then take the left turn after the Denny Creek Campground. Pass the Franklin Falls Trailhead and take a left to reach the parking lot for Denny Creek Trail (which leads you to Keekwulee Falls). A Northwest Forest Pass is required.
Denny Creek Trail is a popular spot in the summer, so be forewarned that the parking lot fills up quickly. You only have to hike one-mile (with a slight elevation gain) to reach Denny Creek. It’s an easy stroll for people of all ages. The creek is the final destination for many folks due to the creek’s slippery rocks. You can literally slide down the wet/smooth rocks of Denny Creek. Check out this video to see what I’m talking about.
Not everyone stops at Denny Creek, though. To reach Keekwulee Falls, you have to cross the creek and continue along Denny Creek Trail for another half-mile (so 1.5 miles from the trailhead — three miles round-trip). Depending on the water level and rushing current, Denny Creek isn’t always passable. My dad and I visited in November, and had to get pretty crafty to cross the creek. We skipped over whatever boulders we could find and even had to balance on a slippery log jam.
Keekwulee Falls is worth the effort. According to the Northwest Waterfall Survey, it’s a three-tiered waterfall with two shorter drops and a long drop of 90-feet (for a grand total of 125-feet). There’s no access to the waterfall; you can only admire it from the trail. The surrounding area isn’t too shabby, either. When you reach Keekwulee Falls (Keekwulee is Chinook for “to fall down”), you’re surrounded by incredible peaks (photo). I even spotted a mountain goat on one of the slopes in the distance when we were there.
The trail keeps going beyond Keekwulee Falls to the much less impressive Snowshoe Falls (it’s so unimpressive we didn’t even know we passed it), and then continues to steeply climb nearly three miles to Malakwa Lake.
That’s one of the great parts about Denny Creek Trail — you can make your trip as long or short as you want. You can stroll to the creek and call it good, continue to Keekwulee Falls and turnaround, or grind your way to Malakwa Lake for a much longer adventure. It’s your choice!
Have you ever hiked along Denny Creek Trail to Keekwulee Falls? How was your experience? We’d love to hear all about it! Please leave a comment below or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out Seattle Bloggers for more great places to visit around the Emerald City!