Have you been to Frozen Franklin Falls near Seattle? If you have been there in season other than winter then you would like to visit it again for viewing the Frozen Franklin falls.
Franklin Falls is a waterfall on the Snoqualmie River near the Snoqualmie Pass in King County, Washington. It is an hour’s drive from Seattle on Interstate 90 and usually exit 47 for Franklin Falls trail head. Franklin Falls is gem on South fork of Snoqualmie river hidden between Snoqualmie mountain range and Interstate 90. The view of Franklin falls is truly amazing and different in Winter compare to Summer season. The Franklin Falls is partially frozen in Winter. With recent snow storms in February 2019 in Seattle, Pacific North west, the area near the Water falls is having approx. 10-15 feet of snow level on the river bed making you stand on a snowy platform and the water from the fall falling in to the huge bowl.
If you are the luckiest one living in Pacific North West or near to Seattle, then this easy snowy hike to Franklin Falls is a must to have. I have been seeing the photos of partially frozen falls for quite a time and decided to see the Majestic falls by myself before it melts out.
Franklin Falls hike is an easy 1-mile one-way hike from Franklin Falls trail head and the parking area. But in Winter the Franklin Fall trail head and parking area is covered with snow.
When driving to falls, GPS shows to take exit 47 off Interstate- 90. This is right as per the shortest path algorithm but in Winter season and current snow levels in the area one cannot drive to Parking lot of Franklin falls. If you take exit 47 then you need to park your car there on taking the exit 47. And you need to start your hiking from that point itself making the easy 1-mile hike to 4 miles hike one way.
For Winter – Driving Directions and Parking for Franklin Water Fall
Easy way to get to the waterfalls is to drive to West Summit Snoqualmie taking exit 52. Park your vehicle at West Summit and start your hike towards Alpental road and take NF-58. GPS shows NF-58 closed for winter and Yes, it is closed to all vehicles as it is having around 10-12 feet of snow level on the road. But the NF-58 is having easily walk-able path due to foot traffic on this popular hiking trail. And the hike to water fall is 1.4 miles from West Summit Parking lot. Walking on NF-58 for a mile you will see the below Board Sign and here you take right.
It takes you to the falls within 5 -10minutes while getting in to the woods. But be careful here it is steep and slippery. I saw many people slipping and falling here. And the worst spot was on the descending part towards the falls which is a narrow steep lane with snow. For this part I will say good hiking shoes or snow shoes are must and if you are with kids be extra cautious.
Falls view was splendid. It was perfect winter wonderland moments at the falls. I was stunned with enormous gigantic icicles near the falls. I also noticed ice climbers on the frozen icicles.
This was my first visit to Partially frozen Franklin falls with my family, so I didn’t want any chance to miss it or anything go wrong. We were in our hiking shoes and micro spikes. I used MicroSpikes and Hiking Poles for myself and my family and we were able to walk over snowy icy steepy path without falling or slipping. I saw a elder couple wearing Yaktrax but they were not comfortable with the traction of it. It was not holding the grip in the hard snowy platform and path. The lady in Yaktrax slipped few times and was quite shaken. People in regular flat shoes were slipping but sometimes one wrong slip on steepy or narrow snowy descend path can put others in front of them in danger too. She asked me about my MicroSpikes and where I got them. MicroSpikes provide good traction on snowy slushy steepy path. Safety matters a lot when you hiking with family and kids. I was able to enjoy each and every moment at waterfall without fear of falling down or slipping. Be careful and don’t stand on the edges of the bowl for that perfect photo. By the time I was leaving, I saw a large chunk of snow wall of the bowl area falling apart towards the water side.
I saw many people coming in regular flat shoes and heading to the falls. Even saw few women’s in heels and that too with small kids walking on the snowy road and falling multiple times and getting up. I’m not sure if they would make to the falls with that foot wear. Can you believe that. It was easily walkable with normal shoes, but one needs to be cautious when reaching the falls area. It is steep and slippery with frozen snow and ice.
If you are hesitant about driving to West Summit because of ice or snow, then don’t worry the pass is clear and easy to drive for Front wheel drive vehicles. But you would need micro spikes or snow shoes.
Franklin Falls was amazing, and it was just as we see in some scene in movies. I was excited for this snowy hike to Franklin falls and was overwhelmed with beauty of Franklin falls and Icicles. I will definitely be going to this place again as it feels like it could be a spot in fairy tale story.
Take Exit 52 off Interstate-90. You can park at West Summit Parking lot.
Do let me know your comments if you have visited Frozen Franklin falls or any other frozen falls? I would love to know and might add to my travel and hiking bucket list.
Have you done Snow shoeing at Mount Rainier National Park? Do read in my other post about Snow shoe Trails at Mount Rainier National Park.
Stay Healthy and happy traveling.