Hike to Big Creek Falls
Sunday August 10th 2008
The trailhead for this hike is at the end of 12 miles of a dirt road. The road is in pretty decent shape, I think it is an old logging road - we easily drove over it in our sedan, but at 25 mph, it takes half an hour to get to the trailhead. The trailhead is a bit confusing - there are no signs at the parking lot. One kiosk has some notes up, but you have to look hard to see mention of Snoqualmie Lake trail. Big Creek Falls and Otter Creek Falls are not mentioned at all. This is also the trail to Nodrum Lake. Bear Lake and Deer Lake are further down the trail from Snoqualmie Lake. This is also known as Taylor River Trail. I think it is also called Trail #1002. No one refers to this trail as Big Creek Falls except the hiking guide books - we were looking at Day Hiking Snoqualmie Region by Dan A. Nelson, and 55 Hike around Snoqualmie Pass by Harvey Manning.
You will know if you have found the correct trail if you cross a paved one-lane bridge immediately upon exiting the trailhead parking lot. The trail itself is in excellent condition, not too muddy. We hiked on a summer day that was overcast - it was cloudy in all the mountains, which is why we did not try a hike to a peak. It seemed like it might rain lightly, but it never did. Most of the hike is under trees, so even on a hot day this would be a good hike.
The hike to Big Creek Falls is 5 miles one way, but it is easy. We finished the trail, including the short side trip to Otter Falls, in about four hours. If we had known it would be this easy, we would have done the longer hike to Snoqualmie Lake. Snoqualmie Lake roundtrip is 15 miles, and there is some climbing on the trail beyond Big Creek Falls. Still, it sounds like a nice hike for a day.
For most of the hike, the trail parallels the Taylor River. You can usually hear the sound of rushing water.
The side jaunt to Otter Falls is well worth doing. It is surprising that there isn't an official trail to the falls, it is just a quarter mile or so off of the main trail, and the waterfall is a delight to see. A cairn of stones marks the point where you should leave the trail and go up hill to see Otter Falls and Lipsy Lake. Somehow, we missed seeing that obvious pile of stones on our way up. It is just after passing an enormous culvert. Apparently, the Lipsy Lake drainage passes under the trail through a gigantic culvert - not sure why this is necessary. Perhaps it is part of the discontinued road-building project that put the bridge in at Big Creek Falls.
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