Hike of the week: Doe Creek Falls Trail

December 3, 2010 

Hike description: Hike through forest and across clearcuts, where the views are magnificent. Trail No. 1183 starts out as a nice wide gravel path. When the gravel ends, the trail starts to head uphill with switchbacks and long inclines. It crosses two old, unused Forest Service roads before arriving at the junction with Trail No. 1174, which will be on your left. The junction is well-signed but is easily missed as you slog uphill. If you come to what looks like a Forest Service road with a sign across the road for the continuation of Trail No. 1183, you have gone too far. Just hike up the road to the left, toward the end of the road, for lunch with a view. On the way back down the trail you will see the sign to Doe Falls, now on your right.

The 0.5-mile, sometimes-narrow trail takes you down to a small campsite above the falls. The best view of the falls is from a narrow spot on the trail, but the forest grove with the creek above the falls is worth the visit. The volume of water running over the falls will be greatest in the spring, dwindling down sometimes to nothing in late summer and early fall. Check the trail out now and plan a trip back in the spring to see how things change.

Directions: Drive state Route 410 29.9 miles east of Enumclaw, turning right on Road No. 7160, Buck Creek Road. Cross the White River and, 0.3 miles from the highway, turn left (south) onto Road No. 7160-210 (taking the right fork at that junction so that the airstrip is on your left). Drive 0.8 mile to the trailhead to Suntop Trail No. 1183. The signed trailhead and parking area will be on your right (west).

Difficulty rating: 3 (1 is easiest, 5 is most difficult)

Miles round-trip: 5.4

Elevation: 1,800 feet

Best time of year: April to December

Map: Green Trails 238 - Greenwater

Pass: Northwest Forest Pass

Also: Restroom off to the right before the left turn after the bridge. Suntop Trail No. 1183 is open to stock and mountain bikes, making it a better midweek hike. Trail No. 1174 is a hikers-only trail. There is a wildlife closure of the road to the trailhead Dec. 15-May 1 every year; you can hike the road to the trailhead, just not drive it during the closure.

Info: Contact ranger station and website for trail and road conditions, including snow conditions: Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest Enumclaw office 360-825-6585: www.fs.fed.us/r6/mb.

Hike of the Week is presented by The Mountaineers Tacoma Branch Hiking/Backpacking Committee.

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