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Denny Creek

Snoqualmie Region

Location

Snoqualmie Region -- Snoqualmie Pass
View map below

Length

6.0 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 1345 ft.
Highest Point: 3642 ft.

Rating

4.03 out of 5

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WTA worked here: 2021
 

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass
 
 

This is a popular trail, thanks to its gentle, family friendly grade with amazing destinations. The natural water slide area at Denny Creek is a must visit for families! Keekwulee Falls offers a stunning viewpoint that is easily accessible. Snowshoe Falls maybe a bit elusive and more difficult to see from the trail, but is also a beautiful natural wonder.

Denny Creek was named for Arthur A. Denny, the leader of the Denny Party, some of the original non-native settlers of Seattle, who had mining claims in the area.

As you embark on the forested Denny Creek trail you find yourself immersed in an old-growth forest. Various coniferous trees provide a magnificent canopy under which you walk along a three foot wide, somewhat rocky and rooty trail. A diverse understory of ferns, salmonberry, skunk cabbage, and numerous wildflower species surrounds you. But watch out for the rather unpleasant devil’s club that is frequently found along the side of the trail!

WTA has been working hard to improve drainage issues on this trail with crews working here in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. Evidence of this work is found in the boardwalks, crib walls, culverts, drainage ditches, and rock walls all along the trail. These structures were installed to keep the trail free of water and mud, and overall the improvements are working!

After one-half mile, reach the first crossing of Denny Creek. A large, well-built bridge allows you safe passage over the waters below. A little further up the trail, you cross under a staggeringly tall viaduct. WSDOT built this soaring structure to allow winter avalanches to pass under the freeway, keeping the way clear for I-90 traffic year-round.

Soon you'll enter the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, and just a short while later, arrive at the next crossing of Denny Creek and the ever popular waterslide rocks, just over a mile from the trailhead. The bridge that was once here was washed out in 2009 by avalanche debris making its way down the creek during the spring melt, so water shoes are recommended to ensure a safe fording of the creek. The swift and ever-changing current and the water's frigid temperatures can be dangerous. Be sure to assess the current conditions you are faced with before deciding whether or not to cross. Water levels can rise quickly, making this a potentially dangerous crossing.

If you deem the water to be running low enough, stop here for a cool dip and a picnic on the rocks. Many people choose this as their turnaround point, which gives you an easily done day hike of about 2 miles roundtrip with 400 feet of elevation gain.

If you can, keep going up the trail an additional 0.7 miles to reach the beautiful Keekwulee Falls. Named in 1916 by a party of mountaineers, Keekwulee is a Chinook word meaning “to fall down”. The falls has two drops, totaling 125 feet; the taller of the two drops is 90 feet. It's fueled by runoff and is highest between April and July. There is an outcropping of rocks just off the trail for an excellent lunch spot with an amazing viewpoint. Making this your turnaround point gives you a five mile roundtrip hike with 803 feet of elevation gain.

Snowshoe Falls is an additional one-half mile along the trail but isn’t as scenic as Keekwulee Falls. The trail leading to a viewpoint for the falls is steeper and rockier then the trail below. The waterfall itself, while larger than Keekwulee Falls, at 150 feet, is much more difficult to see from the trail. Making this your turnaround point gives you a six-mile roundtrip hike with 1345 feet in elevation gain.

 

Denny Creek

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 47.4154, -121.4433 Open map in new window

Trailhead

Snoqualmie Region -- Snoqualmie Pass

Denny Creek (#1014)

Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Snoqualmie Ranger District

See weather forecast

Guidebooks & Maps

Best Hikes with Kids: Western Washington & the Cascades

Hiking Guide to Washington Geology (Carson & Babcock - Keokee) p. 133-136

Day Hiking Snoqualmie Region: Cascades Foothills

I-90 Corridor

Alpine Lakes (Nelson & Bauer - Mountaineers Books)

Buy the Green Trails Snoqualmie Pass Gateway No. 207S map

Download a map to plan your hike

Getting There

From Seattle, head east on I-90 to exit 47 Denny Creek/Tinkham Road. At the top of the exit ramp, turn left and cross over the freeway. Go 0.2 miles and turn right at the stop sign onto Forest Road 58. The road crosses under the freeway, after driving 0.2 miles, turn left.

Continue straight on for 2.9 miles and about a half mile past the Denny Creek Campground there is a large paved parking lot on the right that can accommodate about 60 cars.

The trailhead can be accessed via a trail that begins near the bulletin board in the parking lot.

The Denny Creek parking restrooms are closed, but the restrooms at Franklin Falls are available to hikers.

There is ADA parking available nearer the Franklin Falls trailhead. Be sure to have a placard; parking patrols are on and will ticket violaters.

Note: The Franklin Falls/Denny Creek area is no longer accessible from Snoqualmie Pass. Visitors must use the access as described in the directions above. 

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass
 

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Denny Creek

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