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Middle Fork Snoqualmie River: Upstream

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The Middle Fork Snoqualmie River valley has come a long way. Once the playground of loggers and miners, the valley was stripped of many of its resources and then left torn and tattered. Soon came the unsavory characters, making the Middle Fork their own personal dumping ground. Drug users and meth producers fouled the forest with their toxic concoctions.

Then came the Middle Fork Coalition, a hard-working group of volunteers who helped the Forest Service clean up the valley while developing plans for its future greatness. Roads were closed, trails were built, garbage dumps were cleaned up. Peace and quiet was restored. Today, the Middle Fork Snoqualmie is a recreationist's dream, and the Middle Fork Trail is one of the best recreational resources in the valley.

The Middle Fork Snoqualmie River is a fast-moving, cold river that few hikers would care to cross on their own. But when the Forest Service and a team of volunteers installed a bridge over the Middle Fork near the mouth of the Taylor River, hikers gained new trails to explore.

Walk across the bridge, stopping midspan to enjoy the views up and downstream, as well as to marvel at the beautiful bridge (circa 1993), and turn left to hike upstream alongside the tumbling river. The trail rolls in and out of the trees, sometimes dropping down close to the water's edge while at other times it pushes far into the forest. The Middle Fork is a trout-rich river, so it's not uncommon to see fish-eating birds along its banks. Blue herons and bald eagles are frequent visitors, so don't be surprised if a massive bird takes wing right before your eyes.

Around 0.75 mile into the hike, you'll pass under a tall granite wall, dubbed Stegosaurus Butte. These cliffs top out at 2000 feet (about 1100 feet above your head). Another mile on and you'll find the narrow path opening up a bit as it takes advantage of an old railroad right-of-way--steam locomotives once used this route to pull railcars loaded with logs out of the forest.

The next 1.2 miles angle through the woods, finally dropping down to the riverside. Cool your feet in the icy waters--or maybe even wet a line if you're an angler (good fishing here at times!)--before heading back down to the trailhead.
Driving Directions:

From Seattle, drive east on I-90 to exit 34 (Edgewick Road). Turn left (north) onto 468th Street and follow it to the junction with the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Road (Forest Road 56). Turn right and continue up the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Road for 11.8 miles to the Middle Fork trailhead parking area on the right. Cross the river on the impressively large metal and wood footbridge.

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Recent Trip Reports

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There are 203 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Middle Fork Snoqualmie River: Upstream — Apr 12, 2014 — LauraHikesPNW
Day hike
Issues: Bridge out | Water on trail | Bugs
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What a beautiful day for a hike! Getting to this trail is a challenge. There are A LOT of pothole...
What a beautiful day for a hike!

Getting to this trail is a challenge. There are A LOT of potholes on the ay up - you have to take an 11 mile gravel road to get to the trailhead. I wouldn't recommend it if you have a small car. However, I was told that they plan on paving this road sometime soon? Maybe wait until then if you have a small car :)

The trail itself is pretty easy. It doesn't have much elevation gain - but is still so beautiful! It starts off at a unique looking bridge and goes mostly along the river the whole way. We stopped at the river at the end and admired the view and had a few snacks. A great place to have lunch and just enjoy the peacefulness of sitting by the river.

There were some mosquitoes on the trail, and a few spots of water crossing over the trail. Also one of the bridges was hit by a tree and was sunk in at one spot - I slipped and fell because it was very slippery, so be careful! Some mud on the trail as well.

Overall a beautiful and easy hike.
Ended up being eight miles, not six.
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Otter and Big Creek Falls - Taylor River, CCC Road: Lower Trailhead, CCC Road: Upper Trailhead, Middle Fork Snoqualmie River: Upstream — Apr 06, 2014 — Uli
Day hike
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In light of the upcoming Middle Fork road closures in the next 3 summers I thought it would be relev...
In light of the upcoming Middle Fork road closures in the next 3 summers I thought it would be relevant to repost my trip report accessing the Middle Fork Valley via the Mt Si road and CCC road.
Here's the link to my earlier report:
http://www.wta.org/[…]/trip_report.2012-05-29.6311923202
It is 13 miles from the Mt Si trailhead to the Middle Fork trail head & campground.
I still have not heard back from the DNR in regards to the "keep out. Private road" signs that are posted on DNR land (see green trails map of this area) and that you have to pass to access the CCC road. Probably a good idea to have the Green trails map, or any other map that shows that the CCC road is NOT on private land with you in case anyone gives you grief.
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Middle Fork Snoqualmie River: Upstream — Apr 03, 2014 — Zipster
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Mudholes
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The meandering trail was a pleasant relief after the nerve racking drive on Middle Fork Snoqualmie R...
The meandering trail was a pleasant relief after the nerve racking drive on Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Rd. At mile 8, after passing through a yellow gate and over a small bridge, my rate of travel through the car-swallowing potholes sometimes was so low it sometimes didn’t register on the speedometer. The parking lot at the trailhead is huge. Clearly, they’re expecting a crowd. In contrast to the road, the trail was well maintained with only a few muddy spots. My vehicle was alone in the parking lot. The route starts across a remarkable & substantial bridge, another anticipation of high use. Vertical rock walls on either side of the river make the valley at times steep. Even at the wide places, it’s hard to believe that once steam locomotives chugged along the river bank.

The river was the main attraction with its green-glass transparency and hiss of occasional whitewater. I didn’t see the rumored herons or eagles, nor the fabled abundance of fish. The forest was pretty quiet except for raspy croaks from frogs and the burble of streamlets making their way to the river. There was ample evidence of the power of flooding water. In many places, log debris and scoured forest floor indicated a streamlet had once been a torrent. When the trail diverted away from the riverbank, it was often to skirt a landslide that left the crowns of tall trees in the river and their root tangles in the air.

Some wildflowers were blooming, but there many more colorful buds on both scrub and plant. I expect the next sunny days will yield a new display.

In the same day of my trip to this trail, the WTA website posted an article saying there will be intermittent road closures between May 2014 and Oct 2016 to repair the road and some paving. In fact, in the morning on my way to the trailhead, I passed a road grader and a dump truck of gravel. I’ll wait until the road is repaired before trying this trail again.
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Middle Fork Snoqualmie River: Upstream — Mar 09, 2014 — Debbi
Day hike
Issues: Mudholes | Water on trail
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I highly recommend the drive to this hike if you are in training for rodeo saddle bronc riding. Make...
I highly recommend the drive to this hike if you are in training for rodeo saddle bronc riding. Make sure to wear a kidney belt though as the potholes will shake your innards out in the 45+ minute drive of 11.8 miles! We started late in the afternoon with rain off and on. The river was at flood stage flowing 15+ mph with heavy volumes cascading past us on the trail. There was water over the majority of the trail and numerous small creeks to ford. We encountered only 2 other people coming back on the trail as we were going up. Stegosaurus Butte loomed high overhead, wet with heavy rainfall with lots of dripping waterfalls on the overhangs along the trail leading up to it. Even with low clouds, mist and foreboding weather, the trail was fairly well maintained and made for an enjoyable forest walk with plenty to see, except for the absence of wildlife.

Since we didn't carry a map and this was our first time on this trail, we weren't sure how far the trail went before it stopped. We probably walked another 3/4 of a mile, maybe a mile past the butte when we came to a stream too large to ford without getting quite wet. Since sunset was less than an hour away, we decided to call it a day and turned around at that point as we ended up using our headlamps the last 1/4 mile of the trail. Some other day, maybe when it is a little drier than this day and my kidneys have sufficiently recovered, we will brave the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Rd. again and perhaps go further along this delightful forest trail.
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Middle Fork Snoqualmie River: Upstream — Mar 01, 2014 — Cascade Liberation Organization
Day hike
Issues: Snow on trail
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Middle Fork Road has the usual potholes. 1 hr. drive from N Seattle. Almost no snow on the road --...
Middle Fork Road has the usual potholes. 1 hr. drive from N Seattle. Almost no snow on the road -- unusual -- ordinarily, I'd not expect to be able to drive this in a low-clearance street car at this season.
Left TH 7:45 AM, went as far as Wildcat Creek. Saw nobody. Mostly snow free to Dingford bridge, then shallow breakable crust, slow. Snow falling all day, so thin it merely dusted the landscape. Good place to go if road's open and you just want an easy walk, say, when high country weather is discouraging, or your dog is lame. Heard dippers singing. A very little bit of old growth remains in a few spots.
Trail good. Seasonal debris removed. 7-8 blowdown up to 14" dia.,mostly less than 12", not serious impediments. A couple of drainage issues. Flow rates seemed low at stream crossings.
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Garfield Mtn Mid Fork Snoqualmie shane.jpg
Garfield Mountain from the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River trail. Photo by Shane.
WTA worked here!
2011, 2012, 2013
Location
Middle Fork Snoqualmie River (#1003)
Snoqualmie Pass -- North Bend Area
Mount Baker - Snoqualmie National Forest, Snoqualmie Ranger District
Statistics
Roundtrip 6.0 miles
Elevation Gain 200 ft
Highest Point 1100 ft
Features
Rivers
Waterfalls
Old growth
Mountain views
User info
Good for kids
May encounter mountains bikes
Northwest Forest Pass required
Guidebooks & Maps
Green Trails Mount Si No. 174 and Skykomish No. 175

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Red MarkerMiddle Fork Snoqualmie River: Upstream
47.54795 -121.5384
  • Trail Work 2013 Frontcountry
  • Trail Work 2012
  • Trail Work 2011
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