It’s been awhile since I’ve written any trip reports, and that’s primarily because the broken ankle was preventing me from taking many trips… but yesterday, I was able to get out for a 6.5 mile wog (walk/jog) along Granite Creek, in the newly “remodeled” Middle Fork Snoqualmie Natural Resources Conservation Area, and I figured it might be worth posting the route and a few pictures.
The Middle Fork area has changed a lot in recent years – going from a kinda sketchy pothole-ridden road to a freshly paved scenic drive with a multitude of shiny new trailheads. Normally I’m not a fan of pavement, and I have mixed feelings about development in general. However, my understanding is that in this case, paving the Middle Fork Rd was actually better for the health of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie river, because the pavement reduced a lot of the silty run-off that was associated with the former gravel road. I’m assuming they used pervious pavement or similar technology. (I’d welcome confirmation or correction of this information, if you’re in the know!)
Anyway, two of the somewhat new trails/trailheads are the Granite Creek Connector trail and the Granite Creek trail. Both of these trails used to be logging roads at one point in time, and have since been slowly converted to single track.
I made a loop of the area by parking at the new Granite Creek trailhead (plenty of parking plus pit toilets), and then running the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rd back towards the Granite Creek Connector trailhead. This was about 2.3 miles on pavement, which wasn’t too bad.
Pros of the running the road: The terrain is even and smooth (if you’re rehabbing a broken ankle, this matters). It’s definitely runnable (not that I’m running for 2.3 miles with no walk breaks yet…). The views from the road are actually pretty nice (see below). And it’s a great opportunity to scout the middle middle if you’re into boating (not that I’m skilled enough to run that stretch of river myself, yet).
Cons: It’s a road, and there aren’t huge shoulders. But at 9 am on a drizzly Wednesday morning, I only saw two vehicles on the road, and both slowed down and gave me plenty of room as they passed.
After wogging the road, I headed up the Granite Creek connector trail. This definitely used to be an old forest service road, and is still in the midst of growing into single track. Regardless, it’s a nice mellow grade with a few viewpoints of the Middle Fork valley along the way. The trail was rocky enough that I was a little cautious with my wonky ankle, but 100% healthy folks should be just fine. There was no snow, no blow-downs, and it was easy to follow the entire way.
After approximately 2.8 miles on the Granite Creek connector trail (and ~5.2 miles into your route), you reach a junction with Granite Creek trail. I was paying close attention through this section to make sure I didn’t miss the junction, because it didn’t used to be clearly marked… That has changed, and the junction is now marked with no fewer than FOUR signs.
I took a left at the junction and headed down the Granite Creek trail back to the trailhead. This was a lovely section of trail, surprisingly smooth and through some beautiful stands of trees. It looked like there were a couple of viewpoints along this trail as well, but at this point the rain had moved in so I didn’t catch any vistas.
Stats for the route: approx 6.5 miles and 1800 ft of elev gain. This was my long run for the week! Breaking a bone is humbling!