Explore Summer Trip with Ashley - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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hiking
in 8 months

This hike has a pretty moderate incline and as a medium level hiker it wasn't too much of a challenge. I thought because of the mileage it might be a bit of a process for me but surprisingly it went smoothly. There are so many beautiful places to take breaks along the trail. There are many creeks, small waterfalls and beautiful trees and greenery along the trail. Honestly, this hike is so worth it. When you finally get to the top its just incredible. The color of Colchuck is hypnotizing. It is a tranquil teal blue and the ice caps and glaciers nearby on Asgard are pretty cool to check out as well. It is such a great place for photographs. An amazing hike for anyone in my opinion!

There was some confusion if we should take ext 52 or 47 thanks to Apple maps. We chose to go with ext 47. The gate to the FSR is closed. We parked on the street near the gate. It was Sunday afternoon so there were plenty of places to park. We knew that we would be racing against the sun but are pretty fit, experienced, and prepared. There is ice on the two mile stretch of road you have to hike to get to the trail head. The trail itself is covered in snow and ice. I would not have attempted this trail without micro spikes. With warmer temps I was careful to stay on the trail and not get too close to the edge (could easily slip or snow could give way on the cliff side). Round trip this hike ends up about 8 miles. From the gate and back it took us about 2.5 hours round trip, including our stop at the falls.

snowshoeing
3 days ago

The views from this hike were spectacular but I will echo what others have said: it was steep! So be prepared for that and snowshoes or spikes are required. The trail to the lake branches off from the service road soon after the first tower, however if you go up to the second tour you will be rewarding with sweeping views of the back country.

hiking
3 days ago

Stunning! Nice hike... without over doing. The tree is magnificent. Something very magical about being surrounded by so many old redwoods... so much greenery. We don’t see this sort of thing on the east coast. Highly recommend! We’ve hiked 6 days straight and this is my 2nd favorite trail.

hiking
3 days ago

Weather on the trail was perfect, no need for poles or yaktracks. The trail is super wore down and good for a person looking for a stroll or a family. The upper falls is worth the extra ~1 mi to the top. Also we started our hike at 8:30am and was completely alone most of the time, trail didn't start to get heavy with people until around 10:00.

Doing this hike again, after 5 years. This time we are doing it with Daughter, our 8mth old puppy and more friends. Going Saturday January 12th 2019. This will be the 3rd hike of the new year.☺

hiking
7 days ago

Definitely the best trail we hiked all week. Started early in the morning for our first hike through the redwoods. We were the only people on the trail until our return so it was very peaceful hike no outside sounds just the forest . I felt very humbled and blessed to walk among these majestic trees.

Such a nice great little hike. My husband and I hiked with our kids and my brother in law. It gets a little steep towards the end and but over all an easy great hike with a beautiful view

Nice short hike to get out into nature. Every skill level can enjoy this trail (my wife is 8 months pregnant and had no problem). Beautiful river and waterfalls!

The elevation kicked my tail, but this was absolutely amazing! About one foot of beautiful fresh powder! We sled down on saucers, so fun!

Beautiful, but super busy trail. Since the road is closed prior to the trailhead it adds an additional long, boring walk (approx 2-3 miles each way). The trail was super slick when we visited, we saw a few people managing with hiking boots but they were moving very slowly. Bring microspikes-it really helped!! Also, turn left once you see the sign for “franklin falls parking,” don’t follow the sign for parking - turn left then the trailhead will be on your right!

Beautiful in the snow :)

Awesome family trail. Have hiked it several times. Beautiful views of mountains and river. Mosquitoes are a pain when in season.

This hike offer all scenery from forest to flower fields to mountains. Absolutely stunning! One of my favorites!

snowshoeing
12 days ago

Great snowshoe which gains elevation right off the bat. Switchbacks for awhile and then you get toward the lake and it becomes more of a trail which levels off, versus a road. A little busy but to be expected at the pass. 1-90 got shut down so we couldn’t do our original plan. This was a good, quick backup on the way to Leavenworth. Completed on 1/4/19.

snowshoeing
13 days ago

Really beautiful hike. Views overlooking the cascades on the way up were stunning seeing the snow capped mountains in the distance with fog/clouds rolling into the valley and high cloud cover above. Heavy snow heaving on the alpine firs, and untouched powder bounding off into the trees. View from the top was pretty, and the snow covered lake was fun for my son (12) to imagine what was below. Only drawback were two- is despite the short length - the elevation gain is tricky and my son had to stop several times. The top of the mountain has a T-Mobile cell tower which was a little disheartening to have it spoil the “Untouched” feel. But my son was happy he had “4 bars Dad!”

Such a gorgeous trail all through. One can hear the sound of river pretty much from the entire trail. the views of water gushing on the rocks and the waterfalls are to unbelievable! Middle falls are the most pretty but lower falls are quite a beauty too. Upper falls has a much steeper climb but not the views as impressive as middle or lower. Also if you go to upper falls, the total trail length is 5.5 miles. I think the 4.4 miles mentioned in the description is only till middle falls. But Valley overlook point is beautiful, after middle falls and before upper. The trail condition is very good. Various bridges, stairs and paved paths all through the trail. Hiking poles were such a savior. the climb is steep on this trail, so if you can take the poles, please do!

mountain biking
15 days ago

Awesome January MTB. Dry, sunny, and not overcrowded. Easy access. Def will be back

hiking
15 days ago

Great hike on a beautiful and maintained trail. Being that it was New Year’s Day and free day at state parks we were still lucky enough to find parking.

We had some sunshine and a bit of blue skies. We saw a lot of cool fungus.

Hiked with our two kiddos, ages 5 and 7. The ranger station has a fun scavenger hunt to complete.

16 days ago

Super busy trail, nonetheless it is very beautiful at this time of the year. The final stretch to the falls is very icy making it difficult to go all the way down without spikes.
The snow is very compact, there is no need for snowshoes.
Parking spot can be very difficult to get if you don’t arrive in the morning.

beautiful day to hike to the falls, compact snow and some icy areas, good to have micro spikes!

snowshoeing
16 days ago

I snowshoed this trail today (12/31) it has great views & the trailhead was easy to find from Steven’s Pass parking lots. It was quite crowded but still made for a great short snowshoeing trip.

hiking
16 days ago

This is a beautiful hike. Avoid the crowds and go on a weekday.

hiking
16 days ago

Visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPR3FnXSfgk or https://www.YouTube.com/TheUpperLeftUSA to see a video from the trail.

This was my first opportunity to hike this trail and I have to say that I enjoyed it quite a bit. This is one of those trails that offers a lot in a short amount of distance. It just seemed like there were views around every couple of corners.

For those who are interested in doing the hike, going early is a definite recommendation. I arrived at the trailhead at 8 am and there were about 20 cars in the parking lot. As I hiked, I saw many people and by the time that I was finished, a good portion of the parking lot was filled. I did this hike on New Year's Eve, which is something that not as many people are going to do. I can only imagine that on a nice summer day, parking is going to be taken up fast. There is no parking on the side of the road on the way to the trailhead so you'll have to find parking elsewhere in the surrounding residential area.

On this day, I only hiked to lower falls so take that into consideration as you read this report. That being said, the hike to lower falls is relatively easy. A more experienced hiker or someone with good cardiovascular endurance would have little problem. I would like to note that there was a little girl less than 5 years old that I saw throughout the trail walking on her own. That kind of tells you about the difficulty of this hike. To me, it seemed like there was not a lot of elevation gain. More so smaller patches of incline climbs rather than a constant climb.

Conditions on this particular day were great. It had been raining consistently for the past couple of weeks and this was an unusually good weather day. I was layered up pretty well and stayed warm throughout the hike but my hiking partner did complain about being cold and losing sensation when not in motion. Keep that in mind as you plan your trip! Another thing that would be helpful is to bring a waterproof layer because there were a lot of water droplets falling from the trees even on a nice sunny day. If you're going on a wet day, bring waterproof gear for sure.

Overall, this is definitely a recommended hike. There is a lot of reward for the amount of effort put in, even if you don't do the entire hike.

If you'd like to see more coverage of various hikes around Washington and the rest of the world, consider checking out my work whether it's through YouTube or my various other social media outlets!

Hải Hoàng Trần
Photographer | Videographer
TheUpperLeftUSA.com
Instagram.com/TheUpperLeftUSA
YouTube.com/TheUpperLeftUSA

hiking
17 days ago

HEATED bathrooms!! The amenities here are fabulous. The parking lot is large, and they have volunteers present. You need a discovery pass to park. The trail was well marked and well maintained. If you use poles, take them! I thought since this was an easier hike compared to the last few, that I didn't need mine. The last mile.....whew! I could have used them!

Discovery Pass Required (or $10 for the day to park). Discovery Pass is available to purchase at the visitor booth at the entrance to the trail ($30). The trail is gorgeous! Well maintained. There is a small trail loop that includes a bunch of stories about a native tree. The scenery along the hike is beautiful. The hike itself is moderate, the first 2 miles is fairly easy however the last 0.75 miles can be tricky, especially when it’s raining. The falls are breathtaking as well as the view of the valley. Only 1-1.5hrs from Seattle, I highly recommend it!

Road was closed so it added a long boring walk on pavement to the hike but trail itself was still pretty crowded. The viewpoints along the way were beautiful and the waterfall was rushing!

Completed 11-19
Hardest hike I’ve done yet, but the lake was incredible. We tried to do Aasgard but ended up going up the glacier.

Backpacked this on November 7th, 2018.. And wow. This was my second time on the lake, but the first in the winter months! It was amazing. There was an average depth of six inches of snow at the time it seemed. We attempted Aasgard Pass but were conquered by it, as conditions got a little too hairy and technical for us.

For more information on this hike and trail, check out the video I made on YouTube: https://youtu.be/5viPNT-bk7A

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment! Subscribe to the channel if you’d like as well. This video should give you a great idea of the hike up to Colchuck Lake.

hiking
19 days ago

Hiked in September 2018. I did not make it the last 1/4 mile or so- the last bit is along a ridge to reach the lookout. However, there are stunning views of Crater Lake and the surrounding high desert along the whole trail so do what you can do!

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