Boulder River Trail #734


Starting off on the old railroad grade now part of Boulder River Trail,
photo by Nels Rasmussen, D.C.

Boulder River Trail is often referred to as Boulder Falls Trails because of the beautiful waterfall viewed from this trail.  The official Boulder Falls is on the Boulder River & is not seen from this trail, however once starting out on your hike you will hear Boulder Falls thundering far down below as it makes a 40 foot drop.  This pleasant relaxing hike starts you off on the old Hazel Logging Railroad grade constructed back in 1909.  Look for signs of the old railroad as you hike.
Pre-Show Falls, photo by Martha Rasmussen

The trail takes you through old growth forest crossing several streams & creeks as it parallels Boulder River.  This Trail used to be the route to the famous Three Fingers Fire Lookout, but now is 3.5 miles of the trail remain.  At a little over 1 mile you will come to your first waterfall, Pre-Show Falls.  Pre-Show Falls is a delicate waterfall with not to much volume of flow however it flows year round.  The waterfall laces its way through maidenhair ferns & moss drops 150 feet down a steep rock face across the river.
Feature Show Falls in wintertime, photo by Nels Rasmussen, D.C.

As you continue your hike you will come to the second waterfall a short distance further down the trail, Feature Show Falls.  This is one of the most famous waterfalls of the North Cascade Mountains.  Feature Show Falls is also along the opposite side of the river.  The waterfall drops 250 feet down a rock face splitting two main segments.  There is a bench along the trail just so you can sit and admire the magic of rock & water.

Meditation Falls, photo by Aaron Young

Leaving Feature Show Falls as you hike further the trail climb gradually & will leave the river taking you deeper into the forest.  As you begin your descending down the trail at about 1.5 miles you will come the the third waterfall, Meditation Falls.  Meditation Falls drops down along a rock face 60 feet as it forms a mesmerizing "V" in the center of it.  A short distance after this point the trail reaches Boulder River and the end of the trail.  Boulder River Trail is a low elevation hike starting out at only 1,000 feet elevation making this a great all season hike with the waterfalls & river changing season by season.  Prolonged cold winter weather turns the Boulder River into a magical place of long icicles and freezing waterfalls.
Type of Trail:  USFS
Length: 4 miles
Elevation: 1,000 - 1,400
Level of difficulty: easy

Best Seasons:  All seasons

Seasonal Interest:
  • Spring - waterfalls, wildflowers, birding
  • Summer - waterfalls, forest canopy
  • Fall - waterfalls, fall colors
  • Winter - possible frozen waterfalls
General Information:
History:  Trail follows old Hazel Logging Railroad

Wilderness restrictions: Yes, trail enters Boulder River Wilderness

Restroom: Vault toilet 1 mile as you turn off SR 530 onto Forest Road #2010

Bring drinking water

Trail Conditions

Road Conditions

Getting There:  From the Darrington District Ranger Station drive SR 530 west for 8.2 miles, near milepost 41, turn left, (south) onto French Creek Road, Forest Road #2010, drive 3.7 miles to the trailhead.  Note at 1 mile you will come to the vault toilet, there is no toilet at the trailhead.

Further Information:  Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

Hiking the Cascades, Boulder River Trail