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Boulder River Waterfall


Joan Burton’s fabulous book Best Hikes With Kids: Western Washington & the Cascades has served us well again! Last weekend my family took a trip to Boulder River Falls.

Our drive along the Mountain Loop Highway offered us a sobering look at the devastating mud slide in Oso, as well as the tremendous reconstruction work in progress.


At milepost 41 we turned right onto French Creek Road. 3.8 miles later we found the trailhead packed with families just like ours, who were looking for an easy and fun hike to do with kids. As soon as our Northwest Trails pass was on the dashboard, we were ready for fun.

The hike to Boulder River Falls is relatively flat and easy. Burton says it’s 2.5 miles with a 250 feet elevation gain. My five-year-old daughter was able to handle it just fine. But be warned; there were a lot of bugs. In retrospect, we should have brought bug spray.

As close as I'll ever get to a weirwood throne!

As close as I’ll ever get to a weirwood throne!

The waterfall itself is breathtaking, but my kids’ favorite part of this adventure was throwing rocks into the river. This was good for an hour’s worth of entertainment. Then they discovered a patch of clay, and I knew my car upholstery would never be the same again.

On our way home we stopped by Fruitful Farm and Nursery and picked up some fresh local honey from Oso. It was a very “sweet” way to end the day.


WA State Geography in 60 seconds or less

The devastating Washington Mudslide is making national news this week, but many of my friends from outside of WA aren’t sure where Oso, Darrington and Arlington are. Roughly speaking, the mudslide is happening in the mountains about an hour’s drive from Seattle.

Understanding the geography of another state is difficult. I’m not very good with Arkansas , Vermont, or Ohio geography, because I’ve never been there. So here’s a crash course in WA geography in 60 seconds or less.



Big cities:

    • Seattle (think Space Needle)
    • Bellevue (think Microsoft)
    • Tacoma (think the Tacoma Dome)
    • Everett, Renton and Kent (think Boeing)
    • Spokane (think close-to-Idaho)
    • Olympia (the capitol)
Edmonds Beach

Edmonds Beach

Puget Sound:

  • A huge, gigantic estuary coming into WA from the Pacific Ocean and Salish Sea (picture rocky beaches with mountain views)
Come in August and there'll be less snow.

Visit Mt. Rainier in August and there’ll be flowers

National Parks:

  • Mt. Rainier (duh!)
  • Olympic National Park (Bella and Edward’s backyard)
  • North Cascades National Park (pristine wilderness)
Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park


  • Western WA can be cold and rainy (think, good place to fish)
  • Eastern WA is almost like a dessert (think, good place to pick peaches)
North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park

Okay, now take a look at Google maps and you’ll have a much better understanding of where the mudslide happened.

This is a very sad time for our beautiful state. My heart and prayers go out to the people of Oso, Darrington and Arlighton.