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Old Growth Reserve Loop

A Beautiful All Season Trail
 Old Growth Reserve in winter, photo by Martha Rasmussen

This is a short trail through a stand of old growth trees that were preserved by the USFS. The trees in this stand are in the range of 150 to 600 years old.  Due to the lower elevation of this trail it is usually snow free most of the year making it a good year round destination.  This is an unofficial trail that is not signed but the trail can be seen from the road.

The Old Growth Reserve in springtime, photo by Shari Brewer

The trail has a couple of choices, you can proceed straight on the trail from the parking area where you will see a Y in the trail.  The Sauk River Bar Trail will be on the left.  The North Old Growth Reserve trailhead is on the right.  Across the Sauk Prairie Road you will see the south Old Growth Reserve trailhead.  By taking the south trailhead across the road, you will walk about 1/2 mile through lush green forest and abundant wildflowers when in season.  The trail will cross the road and you will continue walking down a gravel road for a short distance when you will see the trail continue to the left through some boulders.  While walking keep an eye out for cedar trees with long scars.  These are called Culturally Modified Trees where the bark was peeled for basket weaving by local Native Americans many years ago.

The long Sauk River Bar, photo by Shari Brewer

The Sauk River Bar Trail is just a short way trail of about 1/4 mile.  This is a great place for a short walk or stop to have lunch. The trail ends at extensive gravel bars and the Sauk River with views of Whitehorse Mountain and Prairie Mountain.  Several years ago there was a massive log jam on this side of the river.  The power of the mighty Sauk River washed the jam away and resulted in the river flowing on the opposite side.

Whitehorse Mountain as seen from the Sauk River Bar, photo by Shari Brewer


Type of trail: User built trail
Length: No determined length, the loop is about 1.5 miles with other side trails.
Elevation: 536 - 536, no elevation gain
Level of difficulty: easy

Best seasons: All seasons

Seasonal interest: 
  • Spring & summer - Wildflowers & Birding
  • Fall -fall colors, fascinating mushrooms, possible viewing of salmon spawning & eagles,
  • Winter - a nice easy winter walk however during snow while roads are being plowed the parking area is not accessible.

General Information:

Wilderness restrictions: No

Restrooms: No

Bring drinking water

Trails conditions: There are no trail reports for user built trails.

Road conditions: accessed by Snohomish County Sauk Prairie Road.

Getting There:  From the Darrington Ranger Station, drive back towards Darrington on SR 530 about 100 feet and turn left onto the Sauk Prairie Road. Drive 1.3 miles (telephone pole #21), and you will see a small parking area and boulders off to your left where the trailhead is.  GPS-10 U0605737, UTM-5346631