Wallace Loop

This is one of my favorite trips. Big waterfalls, a nice lake, and a lot of solitude. The trail to Wallace Falls is a zoo after early morning. I just start earlier. This day a 9:00 am start was early enough. Surprisingly, there was a little bit of snow near the start. That is at a very low elevation. Not much more seen until above the falls. I took the railroad grade up and down. A little more distance that way. At the first connector with the Woody Trail I headed down. That is right at the two mile marker. Thankfully there was no ice on the trail at lower elevations. With all the hikers it would have been compressed into hard ice. Quite a bit of water at the first bridged crossing. The steep short climb brought me to the picnic shelter. With the short drop to the best views of the lower and middle falls. I saw one person where I left the railroad grade. I would see nobody else until the Greg Ball Trail below Wallace Lake.

I made the usual stops at the viewpoints. A little ice left on the side and below the falls but it was almost all gone. I'm sure there was a lot during the recent very cold snap. Nice views of the upper falls. Since my last visit the trail to the upper road has been completed. The top half has been done for years. The lower half is now in place. It is longer but makes it very easy to reach the upper road. Once on the road there was snow. The mud puddles have been filled in with rocks. The truck tracks make it clear where the rock came from. There were a number of down trees on my last visit. Bringing the truck in means the old road is now smooth, mud free, and easy walking.

There was a little bit of snow on the forested part of the old road. When it broke out onto the more recently rebuilt section the snow covered the route. In the truck tracks it was solid ice. in the middle it was 3-5 inches of soft snow. Pretty easy travel though slower than snow free. There were half a dozen boot tracks. They all went in the direction I was traveling. At the next junction the truck came from the left. To the right I lost the compressed and icy tire tracks. It is only .40 miles to the lake from there. Last time we reached a beaver dam than made for a very deep lake across the trail. We had an interesting time getting around it on unconsolidated snow. This time there was just a small creek that I jumped across. A few minutes later I reached Wallace Lake.

Nice views of the lake from the outlet bridge. All the logs at the outlet were highlighted by snow. There were a few inches at the lake. No visit to the lake is complete without a trip to the inlet. There is one spot with a view across the lake but the only really good view is from Pebble Beach at the inlet. It did not take long to hike the half mile to the other end of the lake. Just a little snow on the ground. When the creek is running into the lake a little bushwhacking is required. It is dry now and I just followed the creek bed. The lake is mostly open water though there is a little ice along the shore. All day the temperature was between 36 and 40 degrees. The low was at the end of the lake. There was virtually no wind. I had a short lunch. Nice views down the lake. The calm allowed for near perfect reflections in the lake. Snow on the peaks above. A really nice spot to sit and enjoy the views.

I hiked back around the lake to the outlet. The old road that leaves the lake had some ice on it. I almost took a header when the the whole road suddenly was covered in clear ice. When I reached the road I picked up the ice covered truck tracks again. A short hike down the road brought me to the Greg Ball Trail. A short way down the trail I met the second group of the day. Four hours of hiking and I saw only one person. Wallace Falls State Park does not need to mean crowds. Snow up high soon gave way to bare dirt once again. I passes half a dozen groups heading up to the lake. It was cold enough that any mud on the trail was frozen. The overcast really brought up great colors in all the moss along the trail.

I reached the end of the Greg Ball and headed down the railroad grade. More easy walking. I felt a few raindrops but the late afternoon rain held off. There were the usual few groups just starting up the trail. I reached the parking lot at 2:25 pm. Just a little under 5 1/2 hours to cover 12 miles with about 1800' of elevation gain. After hiking in 5 degrees at Lake 22 the week before, it was nice to stay above freezing all day. The rain stayed away too. Just enough snow to highlight the trees but not enough to slow me down. A great low elevation (almost) winter hike.

Mt. Baring
Persis & Index
A Little Snow
Mossy Green
Bridge Over River
Wallace River
Olympic Mountains
White Water
Lot's Of Water
Nice Contrast
Middle Falls
Upper Falls
Road Above Falls
Turn Off - Wallace Basin
Snowy New Road
Beaver Lake Is Gone
Less Snow Near Lake
Approaching Outlet
Lake From Outlet
Snowy Picnic Tables
View Along Lake
Inlet Is Dry
Inlet View
Frozen Pebble Beach
Ice & Rocks
Icy Old Road
Greg Ball Trail
More Greenery
Old Trestle Remains
Wallace Lake Panorama
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2013