Hike the Upper Foothills Trail along the Carbon River

Hike the Upper Foothills Trail along the Carbon River

Rate this Adventure Foothills Trail

Distance

10 Miles

Elevation Gain

30 Feet

Activities

Chillin, Photography, Running, Hiking

Skill

Beginner

Season

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Type

Out-and-Back

Added by

John Sunich

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
River
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildlife

Easy family friendly hike through a mossy forest along the Carbon River. Stop to explore historical Melmont ghost town as well as take in views of Mt. Rainier, waterfalls and wildlife. 

The upper Foothills Trail from the Fairfax Bridge to Manley Moore can be hiked starting from either end as an "out and back" hike or a "point to point" by shuttling with two vehicles.  

Starting from the upper end of the trail you begin by walking under the Kolisch Rd. Bridge, which has the Manley Moore Mural painted on its buttress depicting Bigfoot, Mt. Rainier, salmon, wildlife and the forest.  From there the trail winds through a mossy forest with several side trails leading down to the Carbon River that are suitable for kids to explore and also take a break for lunch. Rumor has it there are a couple great spots to capture some views of Mt. Rainier should you happen to choose a cloudless day. Keep an eye out for elk, deer, and other wildlife as they frequent the gravel bars in this area.

The trail itself follows along an old railroad grade making the route rather easy to hike with little elevation change. However due to landslides and erosion from the ever changing course of the Carbon river there are some hazards to navigate where the grade no longer exists or has been overgrown.

At about 4 miles into the hike you will come to a "Y" in the trail which leads east along a small stream up the hill to Melmont ghost town.  You can see remnants of an old school, and foundations/walls from many other buildings from the town.   Additionally in this general area if you head west down toward the river there are some other remnants of past mining operations and a nice view of a waterfall dropping into the Carbon River.  

From the North trail-head of the Foothills Trail it is approximately one mile to reach the Melmont town-site and the Fairfax Bridge.  Some hikers do choose to park near the bridge itself and walk down some very steep slopes to reach the actual trail.  This is not recommended due to the steepness of the route as well as the potential for injury.

Overall the entire area is accessible year around due to its low elevation, however the trail can be quite muddy from Fall through Spring with the copious amounts of rain that falls here.  It is highly recommended to wear waterproof boots and potentially even gators to keep your pant legs from getting saturated.  Even with the potential for sloppy trail conditions this is one of my favorite spots close to home to take my young kids for a few hours of adventure.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations.

Nearby Lodging

From $400/night

LOGE at The Pass Life

Snoqualmie Pass, Washington

From $55/night

LOGE Leavenworth

Leavenworth, Washington

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating:  Rate this Adventure

Have you done this adventure? Leave a review!

Distance

10 Miles

Elevation Gain

30 Feet

Activities

Chillin, Photography, Running, Hiking

Skill

Beginner

Season

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Type

Out-and-Back

Added by

John Sunich

Nearby Adventures

Adventure

Hike to Rainier NP's Ranger Falls

Adventure

Hike around Mowich Lake

Adventure

Hike to Tolmie Peak's Fire Lookout

Adventure

Hike to Eunice Lake in Mt. Rainier NP

More Nearby Adventures

Tours

More Tours

Related Stories

destinations

A Way of Life Under Attack - 'Welcome to Gwichyaa Zhee'

All over this country, indigenous people are literally just fighting for their identity.

gear

Patagonia's First Ever Product Collaboration: Danner & Patagonia Wading Boots

Debuted at Summer Outdoor Retailer 2018, Patagonia's newest fly fishing products are now available.

activities

The World's Gnarliest Bike Race: 1000+ Miles on the Silk Road

"How tough it will be cannot be understated, but as Mike Hall once said, 'Nothing that’s worth an...

photography

How Landscape Photographers Can Improve at Leave No Trace

We often talk about “leaving no trace” in the outdoors. You don't take anything from the wilderne...

More Stories