Nestled in a hollow ringed by ferns and mossy trees, a gentle waterfall tumbles peacefully to the ground. A picturesque pool perfect for wading lies at its base. Though one might expect to find this harmonious scene buried deep in the forest, Cherry Creek falls is less than a 45 minute drive from Seattle! This 5 mile out-and-back hike is perfectly suited to the moderately skilled hiker looking for a simple but beautiful day trip just outside the city.
How to Get There
Located near Duvall, Washington, it takes about 45 minutes to reach this trailhead from Seattle. From I-5 North, take exit 168B towards Bellevue/Kirkland. Follow WA-520 for 13 miles until it turns into Avondale road. Continue for another mile then turn right onto NE Novelty Hill road. Stay on this road until it ends then make a left onto W Snowqualmie Valley Road NE. In approximately 3 miles, hook a right onto NE Woodinville Duvall road and cross the Snoqualmie river before turning left onto Main street.
Almost immediately after turning, veer to the right onto NE Cherry Valley road. Stay straight for roughly 4 miles before turning onto Mountain View Road NE. Immediately pull into the parking area on either side of the road. Parking is limited and not clearly marked. The trail itself starts behind a set of concrete blocks along the roadside.
***PARKING ADVISORY*** Parking is only permitted on Mountain View Road. Your vehicle must be parked alongside this road with all four tires past the white lines, or you will get towed. Keep an eye out for signs that say “PRIVATE ROAD” and do not park there. There’s enough room for about 15 cars so be sure to get to the trailhead early to secure your spot.
What to Expect
While not particularly strenuous, this trail earns a moderate rating due to a few semi-technical creek crossings as well as it’s lack of clear trail directions. Several trails overlap with this hike, and it is easy to get on the wrong path. Below are clear directions on how to navigate to the falls.
After passing by the cement blocks, the trail begins on an old logging road. This section is accessible to the public due to an agreement with the property owners, so be sure to stay on the trail and pack out all trash. Don’t be discouraged by the numerous private property signs lining the trail. This is to keep hikers off the many footpaths and overgrown roadbeds that divulge from the main trail.
Shortly after crossing the bridge over Margaret creek, turn left where the trail splits then right at the next fork. When in doubt, stay on the path that looks most well traveled. While there are no blazes to mark the trail, there are several signs pointing hikers in the right direction.
At approximately 1.5 miles into the hike, the trail will descend steeply then turn sharply to the right. Immediately after this turn, the trail will split again. Continue to the left to reach another fork in the trail. This begins the “loop” portion of the hike. Turning either left or right at this juncture will take you to the falls.
If you turn right, the trail will narrow and become muddier- especially in wetter seasons. Winding through the woods, you may notice a few crashed and abandoned vehicles hidden in the trees. Eventually, you’ll reach Hannan creek which you can either wade through barefoot or cross via the fallen tree to the left.
At the falls, there are two viewing areas- one at the base and one at the top- that are perfect for picnicking. Just be sure to bring a blanket as the area can get muddy. For those looking to cool off, the pool at the base of the falls is an excellent spot to take a dip.
Once you’re done enjoying the waterfall, follow the trail as it passes above the falls and turns to the left. Here you’ll reencounter Hannan Creek. Most likely, you’ll need to get your feet wet as you wade through this washed-out section of the creek before continuing straight along the trail. This will lead you back to the start of the loop. Make a right and head back up the steep hill to start your return trip.
***NOTE*** There are no bathrooms near this trailhead. Come prepared.
When to Go
This trail is great for hiking year round. Because of its semi-urban location, it rarely gets snowed out, and as long as you turn right onto the loop portion of the trail, you can keep your feet dry while crossing the creek. Just be sure to turn around after you visit the falls. The second creek crossing is not so easy to stay dry at!
That being said, we recommend hiking this trail in the summertime when you can take full advantage of the wading pool at the base of the falls. However, this is also when the hike is apt to be most crowded and parking most difficult.
|Length (round trip)||5 miles|
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