Just off exit 47, 400 feet below the speeding traffic heading east for the weekend, is a perfect little trail with a fantastic pay off at the end. At only two miles round trip the Franklin Falls trail was a good way for me to test my body after a long hiatus and also to see if I could carry the 25lbs pack that houses all my gear. The rain made for a wet trip, but after the first half mile I realized how much I really needed to be in the mountains.
Every time I hike a trail off I-90 I think about the early settlers crossing the pass on horses, by feet, mules and even covered wagons. It’s hard not to think about how they felt wandering those untouched mountains, following the trails of the local indians, and the neat thing about this hike is that it follows the old Snoqualmie Pass Wagon Road. From WTA.org:
Settlers heading for the Puget Sound lowlands had few route options: they could float down the Columbia River (portaging around the falls near The Dalles), they could take a ship through the Pacific – either from California, or all the way around from the Atlantic – or they could take the Snoqualmie Pass Wagon Road. This road was originally a trading path used by Native Americans, and later was a mule trail used by fur traders. Eventually, settlers and traders carried goods on wagons over this lowest of the Cascade passes. Today’s interstate uses parts of the old wagon track, but in the Denny Creek area, where the interstate splits, the old wagon trace is still visible.