Rainier Beach's Outing to Franklin Falls

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Team:
Rainier Beach High School
Date:
Saturday, February 1, 2020
Trip Types:
Snow Shoeing, Snow Sledding
Photos:
Plan:
Meet at the school at 8:30 AM; hand out gear; introductions/go over day's plan.
If Snoqualmie Pass is fully open: drive to Denny Creek Campground; snowshoe around the campground and potentially along the trail to Franklin Falls (approx. 3 miles round trip from campground).
If Snoqualmie Pass is open to exit 47: Take exit 47 and snowshoe along Mason Lake Road towards the Ira Springs Trailhead; generally play around in the snow.
If Snoqualmie Pass is completely closed: Head south towards Rainier and hike Dalles Ridge trail.

Arrive back to school by 4:30 PM.
Report:
We had a very lucky day heading up to Franklin Falls! Snoqualmie Pass was clear, but the forecast called for serious snow accumulation during the afternoon. Thinking we might have to call it early in order to get down safely, we headed out from the school around 9 AM after passing out gear and doing a quick circle-up to describe the trip and share names.

We made a bathroom stop at the rest area at Snoqualmie Summit, then parked as close to the entrance to the resort as possible. We carefully crossed the road as a group and walked single-file under the highway to our "trailhead," AKA seriously snowed in Forest Service road. Our route followed the highway for about three quarters of a mile before turning into the forest. We enjoyed glimpses of a seriously swollen river running next to us.

Once we were close to the falls, Colleen and I scouted the way through the trees while the students made impressive snow people just off the trail. It took us a little while, but we found the trail down to the falls. The trail got steep and slick and the water level was too high to go all the way down, so we decided to send the students in chaperoned groups of four to admire the raging falls and take alllll the selfies. They did a great job, and seemed to be snowshoe pros by this point in the trip.

Despite the uphill grade I didn't hear any complaints as we headed back to the trail. The way back was uneventful, and left us plenty of time for some serious sledding down the highway embankment near the trailhead. Props to teacher Karla for getting them started!

We met back at the rest stop for another bathroom break and to hand out lunches before piling back into the vans to head home around 3 PM. We arrived back to school at 4:10 with plenty of time to pile wet gear and hand off leftover snacks.

Thanks to Colleen for her knowledge of the back route to the falls! As it turns out, the Denny Creek Campground approach is snowed in during winter, and we would have been out of luck without her.

Oh, and that blizzard never happened. Just a few light flakes as we were getting back on the road to go home!
Suggestions:
Highly recommend Franklin Falls as an alternate snowshoe route if Gold Creek Pond is getting old!

Photos

View of the swollen South Fork Snoqualmie River next to our route

Sat., Feb. 1, 2020

[Rainier Beach] Franklin Falls

Assembling an epic snowman on the side of the trail

Sat., Feb. 1, 2020

[Rainier Beach] Franklin Falls

Students enjoy their hard-earned view of the raging Franklin Falls - from a safe distance!

Sat., Feb. 1, 2020

[Rainier Beach] Franklin Falls

Heading back along the snowed-in Forest Service road

Sat., Feb. 1, 2020

[Rainier Beach] Franklin Falls