I like to explore and and absorb the wondrous beauty of the Pacific Northwest.
Not too far past the Graves Creek Campground a tree has fallen across the road making it impossible to drive right up to the trailhead. The Pony Bridge hike is still accessible, but you'll have to park at the campground and walk an extra quarter mile before reaching the trailhead.
Rocky Brook Falls is the perfect way to escape the current heatwave in Washington. It's literally a hidden gem right off of the road. I went up with a couple of friends in attempt to stay cool during the day and this was the ultimate success.
The water, to my surprise, wasn't abnormally cold and very swimmable. We spent several hours floating around and swimming below the falls. We arrived at about 11 AM and the falls weren't very crowded. However, more people showed up around 3 or 4 PM so if you want the falls more to yourself I would recommend getting there earlier rather than later. This is a great spot to swim, eat lunch, and even climb around the base of the falls (a few people were even cliff jumping). Just be aware that not every part of the swimming pool is deep and the rocks are covered with algae so be very careful not to slip!
At this point I've decided that Rocky Brook Falls feels like a little piece of Hawaii in Washington (except the water isn't as warm). It's relatively hidden and is a great swimming spot under a 200 ft waterfall. There aren't necessarily many swimming holes in Washington that have as much going for them as this one. The mist from the falls kept the whole little area about 15 degrees cooler than the actual temperature, creating a perfect little escape from the heat wave.
Rocky Brook Falls is the perfect way to escape the current heatwave in Washington.
We headed up to the Sunrise area of Mt. Rainier in hopes of hiking Sunrise Rim and then cutting over to Mt. Fremont. Upon getting there a ranger told us that, while Sunrise Rim was doable, there was some snow that could be considered dangerous to cross. We skipped Sunrise Rim and headed straight up to Mt. Fremont Fire Lookout. Despite the fact that there had been beautiful weather for many days previous to our hike, we just happened to go on a day on which a rainstorm passed through. We weren't caught in the rain while hiking, but this did cause major fog, depriving us of the gorgeous views we would have normally seen from Mt. Fremont. Though this was a little disappointing, we ate lunch at the fire lookout and were able to catch glimpses of the beautiful valley down below us.
It was pretty cold at the lookout so after spending a good amount of time up there we headed back down to the trail junction at Frozen Lake and instead of going the way we came we decided to take the Wonderland Trail to Shadow Lake and continue on to the lodge. This part of the trail did have a little bit of snow and since we didn't have any hiking poles it was a tedious process of crossing it. While there was no real danger, it was a downhill slope and we either had to be careful to not slip or just flat out sit and slide down. After this point there was no more snow and the trail traversed through some beautiful fields. We ended up at Shadow Lake which we had been able to see from the upper trail that we had taken to get to Frozen Lake. Shadow Lake is small, but very pretty. After briefly stopping at the lake we enjoyed the gorgeous views of the mountains and continued on to the lodge.
Despite the fog this was a beautiful day to hike. Except at Fremont, the fog didn't really obstruct any views and just added to the beauty of the mountains. We were lucky to see several marmots, lots of chipmunks, and a few deer. The animals in the area are very used to humans and had no qualms about coming right up to us (they probably thought we were going to feed them). All in all, it was a great day to hike and an absolutely beautiful area.
We headed up to the Sunrise area of Mt. Rainier in hopes of hiking Sunrise Rim and then cutting over to Mt. Fremont.
The cliff jumping spot was awesome. We decided to test the water first to check both depth and temperature before jumping and then talked to some other people who had just finished jumping to figure out where the best spot was. We surprisingly had the rock mostly to ourselves and got to spend quite a bit of time swimming around and cliff jumping. Great spot.
The cliff jumping spot was awesome.
This was a nice and easy family-friendly day hike. I went on a very hot day (plus it was memorial day weekend), so it was very busy. But the falls were stunning, and I'm looking forward to going back on a less busy and cooler day. I'd also suggest spending some time at the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort while you're in the area. The cold pool was perfect after a hike in the hot weather and the hot springs are very nice. The view from the hot springs is great as well.
This was a nice and easy family-friendly day hike.
A very short, but cool, detour to take if you're driving up Highway 101. This tree is MASSIVE. And due to the storm knocking part of it over, there are places you can climb inside the tree and get an interesting perspective.
A very short, but cool, detour to take if you're driving up Highway 101. This tree is MASSIVE.
This was a lovely day hike. I went out with a couple of friends and we took our time enjoying the trail and the lake itself. The viewpoint seemed rather busy at lunchtime, but after that we had it all to ourselves. The lake was an amazing shade of blue and such a great place to spend the afternoon. The hike itself was great; not too difficult, but not ridiculously easy. This was a great way to spend the weekend.
This was a lovely day hike.
I was headed out to Ruby Beach with a couple of friends for an Earth Day day trip when we decided to take a short (which ended up being an all day) detour to Quinault and drive out to Graves Creek Campground. We were taken by surprise when we saw the falls right off to the side of the road. They were bigger and much more picturesque than I had expected. It was a wet day so the rocks at the base of the falls were still climbable, but definitely slippery. We spent quite a while enjoying the falls and climbing around to get different views. Definitely a worthwhile roadside stop!
I was headed out to Ruby Beach with a couple of friends for an Earth Day day trip when we decided to take a short (wh
Bunch falls is a roadside stop on the way out to Graves Creek Campground. The rocks are super slippery (especially on a wet day) but the view of the falls from the road is still great.
Bunch falls is a roadside stop on the way out to Graves Creek Campground.
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