Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust (MTSGT) recently announced a new trail opening in the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Valley: Garfield Ledges. It was made possible through a partnership between the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust and the USDA Forest Service Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.
According to MTSGT, the new trail is trail is accessible using the newly paved Middle Fork Road and reaches a scenic viewpoint in just over a mile, providing a big pay off with minimal effort.
The new trail has a long backstory and took 15 years to become reality. The concept was first proposed by Alpine Lakes Wilderness Society members and MidFORC (Middle Fork Outdoor Recreation Coalition) in 2004. Then in 2012, the Greenway Trust, in collaboration with the USFS, adopted the project.
Following completion of planning, design, and environmental review, the project moved forward with contributions from REI Co-op, The Boeing Company, the National Forest Foundation, and private donors.
According to the news release, “Construction began in the spring of 2017, with the Greenway Trust coordinating and supervising all of the various work forces, both volunteer and professional, who played a role in building the trail.”
The Garfield Ledges trail hike is 2.2 miles round trip and climbs 830 feet, with the highest point at 1,860 feet. It is is accessible year-round, providing the Middle Fork Road is passable. [Note that snow is not removed from the road in the winter.]
The hike has a cliff-top viewpoint with an expansive vista down valley to the southwest, with views of Taylor River, Middle Fork River, Stegosaurus Butte, Preacher Mountain – and in the far in the distance Grouse Ridge and Rattlesnake Ledge are visible. There is also a midway viewpoint, allowing hikers to travel just a half mile to enjoy a vista.
MTSGT says the trail is particularly unique “because it offers a full, down-valley view of a glacial valley containing a Wild and Scenic River, and absent of a major highway or other signs of development.”
Garfield Ledges is the first major trail construction project in the region funded almost entirely by private donations.