Our trip across Stevens Pass ended just short of Leavenworth. We took a run along the river through Tumwater Canyon. Here the river sits in the bottom of the valley and the road runs alongside it. Plenty of nice views of the river as it winds its way downhill, some of which you can only see as you drive along the road because there is no space to stop. Other locations, though, do provide an area to allow you to pull off and wander around. Given how pretty it is, you are not alone in these places!
The river widens out in places and then narrows in to some rapids in others. On a sunny day with the fall foliage around, standing by the water and watching the swirling and tumbling flows is really relaxing. The noise of the water can drown out the traffic passing not far away and you can be quite mesmerized. If you don’t mind the close proximity to the traffic, you can also explore a little in each direction away from the parking and get some great new views of the river. You are either walking alongside the road or outside the barriers and close to the edge of the river so paying attention is a must!
One downside to the popularity of the place is that it is a bit tricky to avoid having lots of people in your shots. You can move away a little and have them out of sight. Alternatively, a little careful selection of your angles and shooting location and they can either be cropped out or cunningly concealed behind some other part of the scenery.
The old path of the railroad across Stevens Pass has been abandoned and replaced by a new route that is lower down and has tunneled through sections of the mountains to avoid the tricky climb that was previously required. This abandoned right of way has been turned into a trail called the Iron Goat Trail. Since it is a railroad trackbed, it is not a steep trail which means that a substantial portion of it is actually wheelchair accessible!
Our day out did not include time for hiking but the trail looks well worth exploring and, come the spring, we shall be making a specific trip to go hiking. We did stop at the parking lot to read the signs about the history of the pass. Also, an old caboose is kept at the entrance to the trail and I figured it deserved a shot!
We almost missed Deception Falls. I had put it in to the GPS when we headed across US2 over the Cascades but the GPS had picked up on the place I marked and decided an alternate road would get us close. It did but on the wrong side of the road and that had a benefit we hadn’t anticipated which will be the subject of a separate post. However, we had missed the falls and we continued on our way east.
When we made the return trip, as we got closer to the spot I had marked, we realized it was coming up and started to debate whether to stop or whether we were happy to continue home. We debated for a while over this but, as we got closer, the sign came up for Deception Falls and, since we were there already, why not just stop. Thank goodness we did. The falls are really cool and they are right next to the road. The level of effort is virtually zero for a great result.
The falls run under a bridge which you can cross but, aside from looking upstream and down from the bridge, it is worth looking through your feet. The surface of the bridge is metal grate which allows you to watch the water tumbling beneath your feet. On the other side, you can walk along a path that runs up alongside the flowing water. You are so close to the water, you feel like you are almost in it.
Steps take you up to nearer the top of the falls where you can watch the water crashing down over the rocks. All of this is just a few steps from the parking lot. It is very impressive (and rather popular) so definitely worth the time. We came away wondering how easily we could have bypassed this location and what we would have missed if we had done so.
I took a wrong turning as we went over Stevens Pass and, instead of going where I had intended, we took a back road which was probably once the main road across the mountains. It twisted through the woods, never getting too far from the current highway, but being far more enclosed and far narrower. Fortunately, not much traffic was coming the other way, so it was easy enough to navigate. We crossed a small bridge which was over some falls. I can’t be sure but, judging by the map, the water seemed to be called Martin Creek so maybe the falls are of the same name?