Hike of the week: Skookum Falls and beyond, Trail No. 1194 to the suspension bridge site

March 11, 2011 

Hike description: The Skookum Flats Trail is a modest hike that is perfect for families, beginners and people testing out boots or other equipment. It's an easy walk through old growth forest along the White River. Yellow violets, trilliums, vanilla leaf and salmonberry bloom along the trail in season. Notice the tangled rootballs on fallen trees that have succumbed to the river during the floods.

Two miles in you will come to Skookum Falls up on the right. There is a way trail that can be cautiously attempted for a closer view of the falls. This makes a good turnaround spot for shorter legs. Or, you can continue on another 21/2 miles to the site of the once-proud suspension bridge and a good lunch spot with a view of the river.

The suspension bridge was built up high enough to avoid damage from water and debris jams flowing below. But storms in 2006 uprooted trees that fell across the bridge, producing a sculpture of cables and wooden treads. The downed trees and bridge have been cleared away. Until/if the bridge is fixed, enjoy a pleasant forest walk.

Directions: From Enumclaw, drive east on state Route 410 about 24 miles to the Huckleberry Creek Road (Forest Road No. 73) and turn right. Continue half a mile to the signed trailhead just past the bridge, elevation 2,200 feet. Park to the right. The trailhead will be on your left.

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

Miles round-trip: 9

Elevation: 300 feet

The best time of year: Year-round

Map: www.greentrailsmaps.com

Pass: Northwest Forest Pass; a Sno-Park pass might be required in winter

Also: Check with the ranger station to verify which pass you need. This hike is also used by mountain bikers.

Information: Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Snoqualmie Ranger District in Enumclaw, 360-825-6585, www.fs.fed.us/r6/mbs/about/snrd.shtml; “Winter Hikes of Western Washington,” “Best Hikes with Kids in Western Washington & the Cascades,” both Mountaineers Books.

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

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