Thanks to the latest round of fresh mountain snow immediately followed by pouring rain, I stuck to the lowlands yesterday and ran around in Wallace Falls State Park. While it’s not the most exciting terrain, the waterfalls were pumping, the forest was lush and green, and there was zero snow on the trail and zero avalanche risk.
I did a lollipop loop that consisted of heading out Woody Trail to the Upper Falls, and then continuing to the Upper Grade trail. I used Upper Grade to connect to the fun Greg Ball trail, which took me back to Woody Trail and the trailhead. My GPS had it at just under 10 miles and approx 2k of elevation gain.
Directions are pretty straightforward and most intersections are well-signed: Leave the main parking lot on a wide gravel trail under power lines, and within 1/2 mile pick up the Woody Trail. Take the Woody Trail upstream, all the way to the Upper Falls.
From the Upper Falls, the trail is marked by blue diamonds, but there is also a distinct footpath that is pretty easy to follow. Approximately 1/2 mile past the Upper Falls you reach the Upper Grade, a wide, double-track forest service road. Unfortunately a section of Upper Grade has been recently logged, but the freshly logged area only lasts for about 1/2 mile before you’re back in the woods. And on the plus side, it looks like they’ve plowed the road to make it easier for the logging trucks, which is how you end up with a snow-free run when many other trails at similar elevation are still covered.
After 2 miles on the Upper Grade, you reach the first junction to Wallace Lake. If you want to add on miles, this is a good option, although be prepared for some snow and slush (see photo below).
Keep going past the first junction to Wallace Lake, and in another 1.5 miles you will pass a second junction towards Wallace Lake. If you have the time and want to log some extra miles, Wallace and Jay lakes are pretty and worth a side-trip! For this loop, however, ignore the second trail to Wallace Lake and very shortly you’ll see the Greg Ball trail on the left. Drop down the Greg Ball trail and follow the fun, winding, single track all the way back to the Woody Trail. When you reach the Woody Trail, take a right and in approx 1.5 miles you’ll be back at your car.
I went on a Friday afternoon and only saw half-dozen people, which isn’t bad considering how many people in the Seattle area are currently crammed onto a limited number of lowland trails. The majority of the route is smooth single-track covered in pine needles, with just enough climbing to keep things interesting. All in all, a pretty good option if you’re looking for some snow-free/runnable terrain during this never-ending winter!