Home Hikes Hiking Wallace Falls: A Guide to One of Washington State’s Natural Wonders

Hiking Wallace Falls: A Guide to One of Washington State’s Natural Wonders

by Ryan

In the heart of the Central Cascades, Wallace Falls State Park presents one of Washington State’s most stunning hiking experiences. The trail to Wallace Falls is a breathtaking journey through lush forests, leading to spectacular waterfalls. Here’s a comprehensive guide for anyone looking to explore this natural wonder.

Trail Overview

  • Length: The round-trip hike to Wallace Falls is approximately 5.6 miles.
  • Duration: The hike generally takes about 4 to 5 hours, depending on pace and time spent at the falls.
  • Elevation Gain: The trail gains about 1,300 feet in elevation, making it a moderately challenging hike.
  • Trail Type: Well-maintained and clearly marked trail.

Getting There: Directions to Wallace Falls

Wallace Falls State Park is located near the town of Gold Bar in Washington. From Seattle, drive east on Highway 2 toward Gold Bar. Just before entering Gold Bar, turn left on 1st Street, and then continue onto May Creek Road. The parking lot for Wallace Falls State Park will be on your right, about 2 miles down the road.

The Hike: What to Expect

The trail starts at the parking lot, leading you through a verdant second-growth forest. The path follows the Wallace River, offering glimpses of smaller cascades as you proceed. There are several rest stops and benches along the way for hikers to catch their breath and enjoy the surroundings.

The trail is divided into three primary sections – Lower, Middle, and Upper Falls. The Lower Falls offers the first major view of the falls and is a great spot for photos. The Middle Falls, about a mile further, provides the most dramatic view. A bit more strenuous trek will take you to the Upper Falls, which offers a more secluded environment and the roar of the cascading water.

Tips and Advice for Hiking Wallace Falls

  1. Best Time to Visit: Spring and early summer are ideal as the falls are at their most powerful. However, the trail is accessible year-round.
  2. Prepare for the Weather: The weather can be unpredictable, so dress in layers and wear waterproof gear.
  3. Footwear: Wear sturdy hiking boots as the trail can be rocky and, at times, slippery.
  4. Stay Hydrated: Bring enough water, especially during the summer months.
  5. Leave No Trace: Pack out what you pack in, and stay on the designated trails to protect the environment.
  6. Watch for Wildlife: The park is home to various wildlife species. Enjoy from a distance and do not feed them.
  7. Start Early: The trail can get crowded, especially on weekends. Starting early ensures a quieter hike and easier parking.
  8. State Park Pass: A Discover Pass is required for vehicle access to the state park.


Hiking Wallace Falls is an exhilarating experience that offers not just a great workout but also a chance to immerse oneself in the natural beauty of Washington State. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a casual walker, the Wallace Falls hike is a rewarding adventure that leaves you with a sense of accomplishment and awe. So lace up your boots, pack your essentials, and head out to experience one of Washington’s most beloved trails.

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