Feature Show Falls
|Scenery:||(3.5 / 5)|
|Difficulty:||(3.5 / 5)|
The 259-foot Feature Show Falls splits into two streams midway through its perilous descent down the gorge wall of Boulder River Canyon, showering Boulder Creek below with a constant and always refreshing spray. If it’s a warm summer day, you won’t be alone, as the falls is a popular place to cool off. Boulder Falls, a much smaller and less dramatic cascade, is viewable from the main trail a quarter mile beyond the turn-off for Feature Show Falls. Get there via an easy 3 mile out-and-back hike.
Find the trailhead 4.5 miles down French Creek Road from its junction with WA 530. At the trailhead there is a small sign that says “Trail” and then 50 feet farther a kiosk with a “Boulder River Trail #734” sign, a small topo map showing where the trail goes, and a register for hikers/campers. (Note: there are no bathrooms or privies at the parking area or along the hike.) The 5-foot-wide dirt trail is wide and obviously well-used but well-maintained, with no litter in sight despite its popularity. The abundant second-growth forest tree canopy keeps the trail well shaded in the sun and relatively dry in the rain.
The trail continues along over a couple of small wooden footbridges over seasonal creeks that feed the rushing Boulder River down and to the right. Take a peek down at the river gorge by an old-growth cedar stump that serves as a nurse log for another smaller live tree, and then the trail turns left (south) and begins an uphill push. After another tenth of a mile up, the main trail turns left (south) and a side trail goes off to the right for 200 feet up to the top of a small forested butte with peekaboo views past old-growth trees over the Boulder River’s gorge.
Back on the main trail, pass a sign that marks where the trail crosses into the “Boulder River Wilderness,” the wilderness area within the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest that is home to Feature Show Falls. Continuing on, the Boulder River comes into view down and to the right, accompanied by the first sounds of rushing water. Moss-festooned big-leaf maple trees dapple the trail in green light. After another quarter mile of hiking, take an obvious side trail to the right (south) that leads down to an embankment with a picture-perfect view of Feature Show Falls and then down farther to the river at the base of the falls.
On a hot day, splashing around in the river at the base of the falls is a great way to cool off. After admiring Feature Show Falls, work your way back up the side trail and then turn right (east) to continue on main trail for another quarter mile to see Boulder Falls, a smaller and much less dramatic cascade upstream from Feature Show Falls. Retrace your steps along the main trail to return to the trailhead.
Drive east from Arlington on WA 530 (the Mountain Loop Highway) for 19 miles and then turn right/south onto French Creek Road (also known as FR 2010) and follow it for 4.5 miles until it ends at a large parking area and the trailhead (GPS: N48 15.051’ / W121 49.121′) for Boulder River Trail #734.
For more info, contact Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Darrington Ranger District; (360) 436-1155