Middle Fork Snoqualmie River

Hike along this moderately strenuous, wild and beautiful section of Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Trail from the Middle Fork Trailhead to Dutch Miller Gap. It's 22 miles one-way and 3,600 feet of elevation gain which offer a wide variety of day hiking and backpacking options that range from easy to strenuous. Enjoy good views of Mount Garfield and the Alpine Lakes Wilderness along the way.

getting there

Take Exit 34 off of I-90 and turn left onto 468 Ave SE. In a half mile, turn right onto SE Middle Fork Road (Forest Road 56). Drive 12 miles to the Middle Fork Trailhead (1,000 ft).

on the trail

While many river hikes spend most of the time shrouded in trees, this hike along the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River opens up to good views of Mount Garfield and the Alpine Lakes Wilderness along the way.  The Middle Fork Snoqualmie has been cleaned up and is now a wonderful area to hike. It offers a wide variety of hikes and backpacks ranging from easy to strenuous.  

The Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Trail follows the river on the opposite side of the river from the Middle Fork Road (Forest Road 56).  Forest Road 56 and the trail connect in four places--at the main Middle Fork Trailhead, at the Dingford Creek Trailhead, near Goldmyer Hot Springs, and at the upper trailhead near Dutch Miller Gap. The road is open only to high-clearance vehicles from the Middle Fork Trailhead to the Dingford Creek Trailhead, and the road is closed to vehicles at the Dingford Trailhead.  The top third of the trail above Dingford is the wildest and most beautiful. There are many possibilities to extend the hike far beyond by connecting with other trail systems.

Day Hiking

The most popular day hikes starts at the Middle Fork Trailhead. Cross the bridge over the river and follow the trail along river, through the woods, past the 2,000-foot tall, granite Stegosaurus Butte, along an old railroad bed and back down to the river's edge.  It's 6 miles round trip and 200 feet of elevation gain.

Extend Your Trip: Continue 2 miles more reach a spectacular bridge and creek with a stunning view of Cripple Creek Falls. It's 10 miles round trip and 300 feet elevation gain.


For a nice backpacking trip along the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River, continue on where the day hike leaves off. At Dingford Creek, you can take the Dutch Miller Gap Trail or the Old Middle Fork Road Trail. You can go as far as Williams Lake and Dutch Miller Gap for up to 44 miles round trip and 3,600 feet of elevation gain.

For a even longer backpacking trip, continue past Dutch Miller Gap to the intersection with the Waptus River Trail, and hike it to the Salmon La Sac Trailhead for a one-way trip of 35 miles and 6,500 feet of elevation gain.

nature trails

The Nature Trails at the north end of the Middle Fork Campground are part of a loop trail system through second growth forest, complete with moss blanketed forest floors and access to the Taylor River. This makes it an awe inspiring place to explore with family and friends.

History & Stewardship

The Middle Fork Coalition has worked for years to clean the area up, and this trail is one of many outcomes of all of this hard work. It is lovingly maintained by WTA (Washington Trails Association), Greenway Trust, and several other volunteer service groups.


Information for leaders


If you are scheduling this as a non-stewardship related activity, please limit your group size to the default party size. The maximum party size is for use by stewardship trips only, and includes both participants and leaders. Group size maximums do not reflect how stewardship trips are run (in smaller groups of participants and leaders), but allow for leaders to register the activity in our system.

Permit information

As of 2017, the Snoqualmie Ranger District considers Mountaineers trips and courses to be "nominal use". Leaders should print and copy this designation letter to show rangers they may see on trail or carry a digital copy on their phone.

Dingford Creek Trailhead

Forest Road 56 from the Middle Fork Trailhead to the Dingford Creek Trailhead is open only to high-clearance vehicles. The Dingford Creek Trailhead can shave 12 miles round trip off of some destinations on the Upper Middle Fork and open up hikes to Hester Lake and Rock Creek Falls. If the road is impoved as promised in 2017 or you want to go to one of these areas, please send an email to info@mountaineers.org. We've got a start of a new route/place we can use to more quickly create the new one that you'll need.

  • Suitable Activities: Backpacking, Day Hiking
  • Seasons: June, July, August, September, October
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 12.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 300 ft
  • 4,600 ft
  • Green Trails Skykomish No. 175
  • Trails Illustrated Alpine Lakes Wilderness
  • Green Trails Mt Si No. 174
  • Green Trails Stevens Pass No. 176
  • Green Trails Snoqualmie Pass No. 207
  • Green Trails Middle Fork Snoqualmie No. 174SX
  • Alpine Lakes Wilderness (ALPS)
Trip Reports

This is a list of titles that represent the variations of trips you can take at this route/place. This includes side trips, extensions and peak combinations. Not seeing a title that fits your trip? Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.

  • Middle Fork Snoqualmie: Upstream
  • Middle Fork Campground Nature Trails
  • Williams Lake
  • Dutch Miller Gap
  • Middle Fork Snoqualmie River to Salmon La Sac via Dutch Miller Gap

There are no resources for this route/place. Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.