The Deception Falls trail system is back open for business, thanks to a partnership between the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service and the town of Skykomish.
Located approximately eight miles east of the town of Skykomish along U.S. 2, the trail system has been closed for over a year due to USDA Forest Service budgetary limitations.
Per the new agreement, the Skykomish town maintenance staff will be responsible for taking care of basic janitorial services at the trailhead.
The Forest Service, who has been busily working to clear fallen trees from the walkways, reopened the trail system on Wednesday, May 11.
“Deception Falls is one of the most beautiful and scenic trail systems in the state,” said Skykomish Mayor Tony Grider. “It was disappointing for travelers and locals to see its gates closed.”
The Deception Falls trail system features restrooms, interpretive signage, numerous bridges, lookout points and covered picnic areas. The trails are easily accessible to hikers young and old.
The most dramatic portion of the falls, located within a couple minutes’ walk of the parking lot, features a thundering cascade of water that plunges 60 feet down a steep slope of jagged boulders. More adventurous folks can follow a bridge directly over the most powerful section of the falls, and feel the spray of the water splash onto their faces.
The half-mile trail system winds down the falls, featuring several places to pause and learn about the area. Signs explain such phenomenon as sterile water, a springboard stump, what constitutes a well-fed forest and information about the flows of the river.
The water varies from frothy, whitewater rapids to a smoothly flowing, crystal clear pool located at the lower section of the trail system.
Mayor Grider sought out the partnership as part of a larger effort to help make the town of Skykomish a weekend destination. This effort was recently recognized, as the King County Council formally adopted the “Skykomish Initiative,” sponsored by King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert.
“Skykomish is the little town that could and I am so supportive of its energetic, resilient citizens who are making a powerful resurgence happen,” said Lambert in a recent press release.
Mayor Grider hopes that, with the trail open, more people will be drawn to Skykomish to recreate, have lunch and spend a day or a weekend.
While in town, tourists can enjoy the Skykomish Historical Society’s recently relocated museum and the new Great Northern and Cascade Railway mini-steam locomotive. Plans for the future include a 900-foot nature trail located behind the Skykomish Post Office along Maloney Creek which is currently under construction.
Grider also wants to explore the idea of eventually connecting the town of Skykomish to the Skykomish ball field and park, which, in addition to playing fields, also features a camping area right alongside the Skykomish River.
With the Deception Falls system open, Grider feels that it gives folks one more great reason to explore the Sky Valley and the town of Skykomish.
“We are very excited that our partnership has opened this magnificent trail for all to enjoy that is so close to our town,” said Grider.
“District Ranger Neal should be applauded for his efforts to partner with the town of Skykomish to reopen this King County gem,” he continued.
Ranger Joseph Neal has been with the USDA Forest Service since 2011 and is the Skykomish District Ranger for the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.
The trail system is located on the north side of U.S. 2 beyond milepost 56.
Mayor Grider said that he extends his utmost gratitude to Ranger Neal and the King County Council.
“King County was very supportive and I hope this is the start of something new for our community,” said Grider.
For information on how to get to Deception Falls, or information about camping at the Skykomish ball field park, call (360) 677-2388.
The Skykomish Historical Society museum is located in the historic Maloney Store building, and is open from 12 to 4 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday.
The mini-railway is operated from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every weekend. Rides are free, and donations are encouraged.