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Family- friendly hiking in the Olallie State Park

In my opinion,hiking offers a great alternative to those expensive family outings of "movie and a dinner". It is not only cheaper, but it is healthier,informative and a great way to introduce your kids to the outdoors.

When you choose your destination for a family hike, you take into consideration such facts as : travel time to a trailhead,the length of a trail, the difficulty level of a trail,elevation gain,best season to go and ,of course, your family members physical ability.Those facts will vary. How often have you seen a father travelling with a one year old ( sometimes younger ) behind his back, or a a two year old walking on a trail, making his first ascent.

Thanks to Mike McQuade and his book " Day Hike!" the choice was abundant. My choice would have to be: less than an hour drive from my home, relatively short hiking time, difficulty level- none to easy. There is another very important criterion (for many hikers, including me) for picking a hike - popularity level.But if you go on a family-friendly hike - expect crowds.After looking through the book , I chose the Twin Falls hike in Olallie State Park.

The 2.6 round-trip hike starts in the Twins Falls Natural Area in Olallie State Park.
The best features of this hike- easy to find, the trailhead is right there, no switchbacks, no confusing signs , zero chances to get lost ( if you want to feel really adventurous, don't forget your 10 essentials).

For the first 0.5 miles the trail parallels the South Fork of the Snoqualmie River with plenty of spots to enjoy this beautiful river.My advice -don't stop ( once your little ones start throwing rocks into the river,it's hard to tear them away from that fun ), proceed for another mile or so, to the wooden stairs leading you to your first viewing deck of the jaw-dropping Lower Twin Falls.That's where you need to be patient:the deck is quite small and ,for some people ,it takes forever to take a picture. After you are done, go back to the trail and continue for another couple hundred feet to the wooden bridge. That's your second "viewing spot".Got enough pictures? Beyond the bridge, more wooden stairs lead to your last spot to enjoy this nature wonder and may be to have a lunch.
The trail continues climbing for about half-mile, eventually hooking up with the John Wayne Pioneer Trail, but unless your family is planning to visit Ellensburg ( that's where it goes), it is time to head back home.

For more adventurous and hard core photographers,there is a tiny trail that leads to the bank of the river, just before you are about to reach the Lower Falls.Along the river ,if you jump from one rock to another, you can ,actually, reach the bottom of the Lower Falls to take the best picture, not available to the "general public".

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