Black Friday is the holiday for hikers to #optoutside and hit the trails instead of the mall. I had a few low-elevation hikes bookmarked, but Cherry Creek Falls was calling my name in particular.
This hike was perfect–low elevation, easy mileage and elevation gain, waterfalls that would be especially booming on a rainy day, and close to Seattle. Located about 5 minutes outside of Duvall, we got to the trailhead a little after 9:30am. The most important thing to know is Cheery Creek Falls are only accessible due to a private landowner’s generous allowance of an easement, so be extra-courteous, quiet, and clean when on this land. Most of this trail is wide enough for a car, which is nice for walking with others. While this is technically a network of trails, unless you have a good GPS I’d stay on the main road trail and follow signs for the falls.
Not long after embarking, we came upon our first sight, two wrecked cars. As this is private land, no violation of LNT principals here. It was an interesting juxtaposition of twisted, shiny metal and lush green foliage. The trail continued onward, reaching one fork that was unmarked around 1.5 miles in. WTA said to go left here, but a comment on WTA and my map seemed to imply right. Turns out, either one works–the left one offers a (at the time) far-easier creek crossing, while the right option has another rusted car.
We chose right, and marveled at the sight of another mangled car, this one being in better condition than the others. How did they get here? We pondered that for awhile, as we noticed the trees around us getting larger and more and more massive stumps left behind from logging here in the early 1900s. The sound of rushing water started to grow louder and louder as our excitement grew. However, trip reports had warned of one difficult creek crossing at Hannan Creek. We passed one that seemed easy enough, but I remember from my failed attempt at hiking Granite Creek that too large of a crossing could be a death sentence.
Sure enough, this one was massive, and the skies just had to open up and begin dumping rain right when we reached it. I could see on my GPS that we were maybe a hundred feet from the falls. Turning around was not an option. What were my options was the main crossing, which promised wet ankles, or a large, slick log over the creek a bit off trail. Trusting neither my balance or my fording skills, I decided to get on my rear and scooch across the log. I had a very wet rear/legs for the rest of the day, while Mama Boots, who opted for fording the creek aided by sticks, managed to only dunk one foot in the water. We spied one giant stick on the falls side, which we grabbed for the crossing back.
Once we made it around a corner and saw the falls, I (nearly) forgot all about my wet butt. While only 25-feet in height, they were still a beautiful sight tucked in the woods. Apparently in the summer, this is a popular swimming destination, which I do not doubt. There were logs to sit on, but we opted to stand and eat our snacks and attempt to stay dry instead.
Fearing the crossing we had just done, I consulted the map and saw if we took the trail we had passed for the upper falls, it appeared to eventually circle-back and re-join the main trail using a different crossing of Hannan Creek. Mama Boots was okay with gambling on this, so we went upward, stopping to peer at the falls from above. When we arrived at Hannan Creek, the crossing was wider than before, but more shallow. This crossing also had multiple logs to use. Aided with our stick from earlier, we gingerly made this crossing, staying dry this time. Huge improvement! We left our stick behind for the next people to use. Hiking poles can greatly help with balance on these crossings too.
We saw more hikers on our way back, advising them to use sticks on the crossing and to enjoy their hike. We rejoined the old trail at the fork from before, and realized we both weren’t fatigued at all, even by the large hill we had to climb on the way back. Between the towel and warm sweater I had in my car, and beer awaiting us at Valley House Brewing in Duvall, I had quite the pace going as we headed to the car! The hikes is snow-free for most of the year, making them the perfect hike for winter/spring, and I saw tons of happy toddlers and young children on the trail too.
Distance: 5.0 miles (5.2 if doing the loop I described above, 5.4 if doing both routes with the easier crossing)
Elevation: 450 feet
Parking: No pass required
Best Beer Bet: Valley House Brewing is right in the town of Duvall, five minutes from the trailhead.