Still searching for a weekend hike? In partnership with Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust and King County, DNR is opening the new Granite Creek Trailhead and adjoining hiking trails this Saturday, July 29. The trailhead provides improved access from the Middle Fork River Valley to Granite Lakes, Thompson Lake and for further excursions into the Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest and Alpine Lakes Wilderness. For a trail map you can download to a mobile device or print, click here.
The new Granite Creek Trailhead provides 40 vehicle parking spaces for those who want to admire the alpine lake views from the 4.4-mile Granite Creek Trail. Alternately, you can get to the Granite Creek Trail via the 2.8-mile Granite Creek Connector Trail. Hike this longer trail option from DNR’s five-car pull-out along Middle Fork Road, just east of Mailbox Peak Trailhead.
The Granite Creek Trailhead and adjoining trails are part of an ongoing project to enhance access to the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Valley, just a 45-minute drive from Seattle. Funding for the project came from the last year’s capital budget, a Non-highway and Off-Road Vehicle Activities program grant award from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office, and with support from King County. In partnership with the Greenway Trust, DNR also expects to open additional trailheads and picnic areas along the Middle Fork Road later this fall.
DNR co-designed the trail and partnered with the Greenway Trust to provide trail construction efforts. In 2014, DNR and the Greenway Trust were able to re-purpose a historic logging road to form a portion of the Granite Creek trails. This road-to-trail conversion removed culverts and other barriers to enhance fish passage and habitat along Granite Creek.
DNR’s Snoqualmie Corridor Recreation Plan, released in March 2015, included the Granite Creek Trailhead and new trail opportunities as top priorities. The new trailhead is a result of the local input and community support that went into that planning effort. Visitors will continue to see improvements identified in the plan on the ground for the next decade.
Conservation efforts in the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Valley
DNR’s Middle Fork Snoqualmie Natural Resources Conservation Area was established in 2011 and stretches across forestland east of North Bend to the Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest. It protects wildlife habitat, scenic views and the upper reaches of the rivers. In addition, it provides a 16.5-mile trail system for low-impact day use recreation opportunities.
Traveling either east or west on Interstate 90, take Exit 34. Turn north onto 468th Avenue and follow it to the junction with SE Middle Fork Road (Forest Road 56). Turn right and continue on SE Middle Fork Road about 4 miles. Turn right into the trailhead, which closes each day at dusk.