Rain, rain, and more rain!!! It was an amazing site to behold. This summer is going to rewrite the history books for wildfires in Washington State. Spokane has been held hostage by a thick layer of smoke for a long time, so seeing clouds and rain was a real blessing. Robin had plans to go out with a friend so I grabbed the kids, a backpack, and of course enough snacks to feed a starving homeless man for two days and headed north.
I got all kinds of trails up my sleeve for days like this. Having always wanted to see Douglas Falls just north of Colville I figured today would be the perfect day. After stopping at Walmart for umbrellas we picked up Aladin Road north off Highway 20. Eventually we reached Douglas Falls Grange Park, and found the small parking lot near an interpretive sign outlining the history of the area with a description of the falls.
After parking I quickly realized I had forgotten my discover pass but was able to find an old expired one from 2012 and tossed on the dash. Lucky for us the rain stopped just as we exited the car so I left the umbrellas behind. We walked a short path to an overlook of Douglas Falls, an impressive cataract at the head of narrow Gorge that at low water had a beautiful braided appearance. At the base of the falls was a large pool where Mill Creek is given time to collect itself before continuing down hill as a picturesque mountain stream. After taking in the view we decided to take a closer look and picked up a short but steep trail down to the creek just above the falls.
The kids were drawn to the shallow creek bank and its perfect rocks designed with children in mind to throw them. I myself wandered over rocks to the top of the falls to take in the view from the head of the gorge, and upon closer inspection noticed a sturdy bridge that crossed the creek a ways down from the falls. Wonder where that goes? After a few quick pictures I wandered back to the kids and collected them before heading up a different trail that eventually looped back around to the car. Wanting to know where that bridge across the creek goes I picked up a faint but steep trail downstream from the unsigned trailhead near the interpretive sign. With the treacherous descent behind us we found ourselves at the bridge. The bridge over Mill Creek was quite impressive, sturdy and we’ll built, perhaps strong enough for horse traffic. We took our time crossing the the creek, taking in the views up and down the creek. Once across we stepped down to the creek side to admire it’s crystal clear waters, after a brief moment we continued upstream along an overgrown trail.
In a short while we could make out the sound of the falls, and before long found ourselves at the base of the slide admiring it’s stunning display. The falls is impressive and the view up close and personal is far better than from a distance. It’s low water roar was comforting. We lingered a while, I took pictures while the kids frolicked at the creekside playing in water and admiring the collection of rocks. It was a relaxing experience amongst the cascade, a feeling that is always welcome but seldom enjoyed in the busy life of a father with two small kids, a full time job, and a household that needs to be managed. After taking it all in, visually and spiritually, we made our way back down the trail to the bridge where I noticed the path continuing downstream, we continued on exploring a bit further and in a short ways discovered a sign that read “loop trail”. I asked the kids if they wanted to check it out and they did, so we kept on walking.
It didn’t take long to forget we were in a park, as the forest here was rather pleasant and scenic. It is amazing such a place has survived, I was impressed by some of the giant conifers on display. Eventually we reached an unsigned junction, and on a hunch, felt that going left would be in the right direction. I didn’t have my GPS to reference because I didn’t bring my pack with me, I had no idea we would stumble into this marvelous trail network. The trail climbed away from the creek bottom continuing through the trees until we reached a road and a sign pointing us in the direction of the trailhead. The trail made its descent and eventually we could hear the cascade of Douglas Falls in the distance and knew we were close. We reached the creek and our return trail to the bridge and eventually the trailhead. Douglas Falls Grange Park is a real gem and well worth the trip, we spent a couple hours here exploring maybe two miles of trail, just what the kids and I needed on a cool rainy September afternoon. For more pictures click the link. Douglas Falls Hike