This is a great family hike at Olallie State Park in North Bend. There are plenty of shady areas on the trail, places to stop and play by the river, a giant tree, huge rocks, wildflowers and of course– waterfalls!
To get there, take exit 34 from I-90. Turn right onto 468th Ave SE, then left on SE 159th st. This road ends in the Twin Falls trailhead parking lot.
You’ll need a Discover pass to park at the main Twin Falls trailhead parking lot, but if you don’t have one, there is street parking along the road before the entrance. The trailhead offers a restroom and a map kiosk, it’s a good idea to take a phone picture of the map in case you need it later.
Start out on the main trail which runs alongside the river. You’ll go through a swampy area that has lots of different plant life including skunk cabbage and –when we went in May– lots of wildflowers. Along the river part of the trail, you’ll see lots of smaller paths going down to the riverbank. If you ever want to make it to the waterfall, do what I did and tell the kids you’ll go to the river on the way back. If you stop, they might have so much fun playing that your hike will end there!
You’ll cross a wood bridge, then the trail heads away from the river and into the forest.
The trail winds through the woods until you come to a giant rock at the base of a hill. After you pass the rock, the trail continues up, up, up in a series of switchbacks.
Your first break will be a scenic viewpoint of the lower falls. There is a bench there, but as of my last visit, no trash can- so come prepared to pack out what you pack in. The falls are fairly distant, but still impressive! This is a perfect spot for a water or snack break. You can choose to turn around here or continue to the next, closer view of the falls.
From the benches you will continue down a hill where you will find Big Tree. I found out after I took this picture that you aren’t supposed to walk around the big tree, whoops! There is no fence or sign, but I read that hikers walking around the tree compacts to soil, which isn’t good for the tree. So don’t do what I did- don’t let your kid go right up to the tree.
After you’ve enjoyed Big Tree, take the trail up a few more switchbacks. When you come to a short wooden bridge, you are almost at the next stopping point. You will see stairs off to the right that descend to a wood platform and an amazing view of the falls. The deck is pretty small, so on crowded days, you may have to wait.
We turned around after the second view of the falls, but you can continue up the hill to a bridge which offers a third view of the upper falls. To get back, go back the same way you came. On the way back, we stopped to relax by the river. We saw a few people playing in the water, but of course, keep a close eye on your kids– the river runs deceptively fast and it is cold!
Need more kid friendly hiking? SFM loves the new edition of (my affiliate link) Best Hikes With Kids.
For still more ideas, see our round up of favorites here! Note you’ll need to wait until summer for many of these; we always recommend checking trip reports at the Wta.org site for latest conditions and tips.
Tiffany Doerr Guerzon