This was our first-time hiking as a family of four and after looking on...
Normally, if we knew beforehand that the destination of our hike was going to be almost directly below the raised belly of an interstate highway, we'd probably elect to go somewhere else. In the case of Franklin Falls though, we make an exception: this short trek is a great (easy) option for hikers of all ages and fitness abilities to get right-up next to a 70-foot-tall thundering waterfall, which is, of course, totally worth checking out.
From the clearly signed trailhead, head upstream alongside the South Fork of the Snoqualmie River. The well-pounded trail weaves in and out of second-growth fir and cedar, passing by several cabins, as it heads northeast towards Franklin Falls. The early going offers several spur trails down to the river to stop and skip a rock or two, and at 0.25 mile, you'll arrive at a giant western red cedar. Its massive trunk is easily eight feet across and definitely worth a moment of marvel and perhaps a photo or two before pressing on.
At 0.5 mile, reach a small viewing area for Denny Camp Falls, a 10-foot-tall tumble of water that is just a small taste of what awaits. Shortly after, the trail climbs briefly alongside a paved road before re-entering the forest for a final push to the falls. At 1.0 miles, the trail turns sharply to the south and descends 150-feet of exposed rock (tread carefully here), depositing you right onto the rocky bed of the South Fork Snoqualmie River, with the glorious Franklin Falls crashing down just a few yards away. (What you're seeing is actually the third and final drop of Franklin Falls, which makes its other two plunges further upstream.) Beautiful. Almost makes you forget about the westbound lanes of I-90 overhead. Almost.
Permits & Tips
Northwest Forest Pass required. No toilet at trailhead (but there are a couple vault toilets at nearby Denny Creek Trailhead – see driving directions below). Use caution while descending the final rocky section of trail to the base of the falls. Swimming in the tiny pool is not recommended, especially in early season when the water is running full and could carry debris over the falls. If you want to get wet, check out the neighboring hike to Denny Creek Waterslides.
How to get there
Head east on I-90 to exit 47, Denny Creek/Asahel Curtis.
Turn left at the end of the ramp and cross back over the freeway to the T in the road.
Turn right (east) at the T, and drive 0.3 mile (back under the freeway) to clearly signed Denny Creek Road/SR 5800.
Turn left onto Denny Creek Road and drive for 2.3 miles (passing the campground on your left).
Turn left onto FS 5830 (signed) and immediately park in the small lot before crossing the bridge. The trailhead is clearly signed.
If there is no parking at this lot, cross the bridge and drive 0.25 mile further to the Denny Creek parking loop at the end of the road.