Explore To Do - 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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Jan 21st 2019. Road leading up to the trailhead is closed. We had to walk 42minutes before reaching the trailhead. Snow at trailhead. I would recommend spikes.

hiking
11 hours ago

Sunday's are quiet & peaceful, good cardio spots. still a favorite no matter the weather.

hiking
12 hours ago

Well cut trail, family friendly - amazing view!

hiking
1 day ago

Easy hike, falls were beautiful. A little muddy but not too bad.

hiking
1 day ago

Early morning is key if you want to avoid the crowds, even in January. The falls are beautiful, and it's an easy mild hike. Trails are clear, a bit of mud here and there but not an issue if you're wearing proper footwear.
We explored the main trails and a couple side trails that were far less traveled. You can hear the highway pretty well unfortunately, and there were a few people with dogs off leash.

hiking
muddy
3 days ago

The dog, the boy(11 years old) and I hikes this on Saturday 1/19/19. The trail is very muddy, not impossible but boots you don't mind ruining are a must. The trail itself is very flat, not a lot of hills hence the easy rating. No trail head markings or signage along the way. We missed the "Ghost Town" entirely and ended up walking along the river until we hit a road(about 5 miles). Then we turned around and came back. Lots of nice views of the river and beautiful forest. We saw 4 elk in a small group. A good time was had, but I don't know about the ghost town aspect.

My recording stopped partially through my hike as I lapped around twice. I have done this hike before but usually it is in the spring or summer. Thought I would give it a try this time of year. Some parts of the boardwalk are super slippery, so make sure you have some decent shoes. I was lucky and found two painted rocks by Federal Way rocks group which made the trip extra special.

hiking
bridge out
muddy
4 days ago

OK trail. Great for being so close to home. The north side has more bridges and water crossings that make for great photo opportunities. The south side is a better workout. Not too many people on the trail during the week. Wet and muddy, but not bad considering the time of year. Trail between two bird viewing areas is closed. Looks like a mud slide took a footing of the bridge out. Hikers are creating their own detour.

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.

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

We went yesterday with our two toddlers and infant. It was a beautiful walk! We saw a squirrel and some little birds. Perfect family stroll in the dead of winter.

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!

Family favorite short and very scenic hike in the Mt. Rainier National Park.

Beautiful in the snow :)

Hiked it today, 1/5. I drove from Wilkerson and drove over the bridge, parked, then walked over the bridge to the trail head. You have to step over the guard rail to get to the trail. It’s a little steep going down but flat once you get down. I only hiked about 30 minutes because it started to get dark. The trail was pretty muddy but not too bad.

Park in the Camp Sheppard Trailhead parking lot. Easy and gentle incline all the way to the falls. We went counter-clockwise and found the incline wasn't as steep as the descent. There was a somewhat trecherous crossing once we got up to the falls that required microspikes and many deep breaths. We encountered a few groups that turned around once reaching the snow crossing, but we had the right gear where it wasn't a problem.

Great trails with tons of switchbacks! Lots of hikers, dogs, runners and bike riders. Beautiful scenery!

This is an easy hike with lots of views. When you get to the falls it is breathtaking. Trail well maintained but gets slippery at the top without the proper footwear this time of the year. 1/1/19.

21 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!

we came in from hwy 12 ..the gate was closed but we decided to hike imto the campground and visitors center.. beautiful hike all the same.. ..there was no snow on the roads up to the gate....there was snow inside the gate but tire tracks left perfect snow free spots to follow all the way in.

hiking
22 days ago

Good easy to little moderate hike with view of river and waterfalls. Waterfall was gushing with water. Enjoyed soaking in mist water at upper Lookout view point.

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!

hiking
28 days ago

Nice hike with a great view of the falls. Trails were muddy 2/3 in, but worth the walk. Pup enjoyed too.

Hiked this one with my mom a few years ago, and it was really enjoyable. The trees are absolutely enormous, makes you feel so small!

The road to the trailhead is now closed which adds 4 miles to the hike. We hiked about 8 miles yesterday but it’s mostly road and very easy. We brought our 4 year old along and she was able to do most of it on her own, although there were parts that were icy. The snow is light up there at the moment and the waterfall is rushing. Be advised that there was a winter storm coming in as we were leaving so there’s probably much more snow up there now, which only adds to the beauty and the magic of the hike in my opinion.

If you like to measure how far you go without electronics, this is nice bc it tells you the distance of the loop. It is definitely popular, though. It’s December 22nd, and I ran into at least 8 other human beings in the 17 minutes it took me to round the loop. Very green with cool bridges and little offshoot trails and picnic tables.

Did this today. The road to the trailhead is closed about 2 miles ahead. This adds 4 miles overall, keep in mind. The first mile was clear and the snow accumulated sharply afterward. There's about three to four inches of snow typically. Hiking poles are great, crampons are a must. I didn't bring them yet managed to not kill myself. The view is breathtaking, you'll have great cell coverage all the way.

I guess early December is the season when salmon swim upstream to spawn and die. We saw hoards of salmon struggle upstream, saw white tendrils near the “bubbling geyser” (apparently methane?) and saw two places where geysers are but were not active nor did they even have a hint that they were active in another season, although they might be or maybe they just aren’t active geysers. Anyway, the kiddos enjoyed all the things we saw, and it was a beautiful day! We will definitely return.

on Melmont Ghost Town

1 month ago

trail was being cleared, and super muddy in areas the equipment was working. nice walk.

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