Wallace Falls State Park is quite beautiful - so what better than to take a leisurely stroll through it!
The first five minutes on the path you walk under power lines... so not aesthetically pleasing at first, but once you walk beyond that and into the forest - the nature around you is beautiful.
There are two main paths to take, I went on the Woody Trail and walked just a bit beyond the viewpoint for the Middle Falls. I stopped for a break and something to eat at a picnic table near the Middle Falls viewpoint (just a couple of tables under shelter, but a nice spot to stop) and in all spent about 2-3 hours in the state park.
Most of the terrain for this part of the state park is of beginners/intermediate level for hiking - not too strenuous.
It's a great daytrip, and if you go during the week you probably won't come across crowds of people :-).
The lower falls are a small tease as for what's in store but from the trail head this is the first real "action" that you see. This viewpoint is 1.8 miles (2.9km) from the parking lot. The Falls do not have a great height but do fan over several rocks. A worn path leads eastward to a viewpoint of another waterfall which is partially obscured.
This point in the hike serves a a great point for a lunch break or just a rest. Their is a covered area with picnic tables. Up to this point the trail is only steep in a few short places. After moving further along the trail from this point it gets much steeper and more consistently.
The middle falls are the greatest single drop. They can be seen from U.S. 2 nearly 5 miles away. This drop is very beautiful but, difficult to get a good view of. The main drop is 265 feet (80 m) followed by another slide of some 80 feet (24 m) which makes it quite the sight to behold. The best views of the drop is from the trail leading up to the viewing platform at the top. The viewpoints for this waterfall are found after 2.1 miles (3.4 km) of hiking. The trail up to this point is not a very severe slope though.
Like many waterfalls I've been to, the viewing platforms are above and only give you a view of the valley below. Their is a bootpath leading into the canyon below. A slightly better view can be reached but the hillside is very unstable and a fall from that location would likely be fatal.
The trail to the top is 2.75 miles (4.4 km) with viewpoints at the 2.1 mile (3.4 km) and the 1.8 mile (2.9 km) marks. The elevation gain from the parking lot to the top of the last viewing platform is 1200 feet (365 m). The trail up is fairly well cleared. and maintained with steps and logs supporting the switchbacks. The small bridges that dot the trail are certainly a great part of the hike. This one is the longest of the bridges and subsequently has the largest flow of water beneath it. You may need a chance to take a breather on this hike and if you do their are several benches throughout the path and the bridges also would provide a great view for an excuse to take a break.
The reward for taking the additional 5 minute hike to the top from the middle falls viewpoint is a good one. You may find it a little frustrating that you can not get a very good view of any of the falls but the Upper fall will make up for that. The viewing platform is actually the best place I noticed to view this drop. It is a view directly facing the falls and at nearly the same level as them. The Upper falls are also a large drop. Actually two separate falls they are in combination about 215 feet (65 m) . If you have the time it's certainly worth the extra work. This waterfall lies about 2.75 miles (4.4 km) from the trailhead. The additional hiking needed to traverse from the middle falls to the upper is the steepest portion of the hike but it is worth it.
Again keeping within the fenced off area would be a good idea, but the view here is from near the viewing platform at the top of the middle fall. Looking out from this point and a comparable point within the boundaries, will truly put into perspective just how much elevation you have climbed. I was fortunate enough to have a fairly clear day but I’m sure that it could be even clearer and the view would then certainly be better. You will be able to see not only the lower falls and the creeks path below but the larger Skykomish River which is adjacent to Gold Bar.