When I first started hiking, my biggest concern was being able to physically complete a trail. As an overweight hiker, these were my concerns:

  • It can’t be too far
  • It can’t be too difficult
  • If I get hurt, I want to be able to find help
  • I don’t want to be a burden on my hiking buddy, or I want to be able to go on my own

Even though I am able to go further and higher now, I still remember having two personal goals: I wanted to see wonderful things and, most importantly, I wanted to complete the entire hike. I wanted to accomplish something that everyone else took for granted.

So now, keeping all this in mind, these are the factors I consider when choosing a first-timer day hike for a fellow heavy hiker:

  • Length of the trail (1-2 miles)
  • Elevation gain (0-500 ft)
  • Other hiker traffic (moderate to heavy)
  • Something pretty to see at the end (waterfall, scenic view, etc.)

This last point is key. Having a fantastic reward at the end is what can turn a moderately interested “newb” into a trail junkie for life. Franklin Falls is just that kind of trail.

Franklin Falls Trail, in North Bend, WA

It is a well maintained, out and back, 2 mile hike with a beautiful waterfall at the end. The total elevation gain is only 360 ft and the grade is light and steady in, which makes the hike back to the car downhill and chill. The trail also makes contact with the road midway through, so you don’t have to worry about being out in the wilderness for too long. 

Well Groomed Trails & Paths

Summer Views

Hikers Enjoying the Falls

What I like most about this trail is that it keeps on giving. If you’re just starting out, this trail is best traveled from March to October, but if you’re prepared to strap on some MICROspikes or Yaktrax, visit this place in December. The Falls freeze, and an absolutely beautiful wall of ice forms on the cliffside. So visit this place in the Spring, then, after a few more hikes under you, come back in the Winter.

The Falls in Winter

Make sure you bring your Northwest Forest Parking Pass or your America the Beautiful Interagency Pass for parking, and keep your puppies on a leash. 

I hope to post more trail reviews soon, and if you have any favorites, I’d like to hear from you. They don’t have to be in the Pacific Northwest. Also, click here for a link to a more detailed description from the folks at Washington Trails Association. They can give you driving details and additional info. Happy heavy hiking!