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Trip Report    

Day Hike - Carbon River Road, Green Lake & Ranger Falls

What are those strange mounds in Wilkeson? New finds of bygone times.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Meeting in the historic town of Wilkeson, we gear swapped to other vehicles, made introductions and then proceeded to the entrance of Mt. Rainier National Park's Carbon River Entrance. 
    Crossing over old Fairfax bridge we talked about the areas below of Melmont and Fairfax that are also an interesting point to stop climb down the hill to view the ghostly remains of a town long gone.Screen Shot 2023-03-30 at 3.18.59 AM.png

    At the Carbon River entrance much to my surprise the entrance has taken on a new section of road that gains access to the old parking lot. Restrooms and fences are all repaired as well and no more port-a-potty. At least for now, it's good as new.

    Today's hike we planned on going to Green Lake as our turn around point. As we hiked up the old Carbon River Road along the river, the mosses and trees were an amazing combination of lush greens. Many downed trees that covered the road had also been pushed off as well. The river was on the low side and surprisingly clear. The surrounding hills capped with snow made a lovely scene. 

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Approaching the trailhead of Green Lake the spotty snow gradually became completely snow covered. The trail however was not hard to hike thanks to the previous help of others stomping it down. At Ranger Falls we added micro spikes for traction and trekking poles down to the viewing area where it was icy.

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Ranger Falls had some icicles hanging off to one side and that was interesting today. We decided this would be our turn around point for the day as Green Lake would still be iced over and look like a parking lot. A better time to view the lake thawing out would be in a week or two. Plus the log bridge across Ranger Creek was reported to be quite icy and if any one slipped off into the creek it would make for a bad fall and challenging walk back to the cars.


Returning back to the trailhead, we traveled a short distance for a pretty view of Chenius Falls and lunch. Then back to the car.

On our return to Wilkeson we took a quick tour of the old coke ovens, which are these strange mounds just beyond the school. 

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Many of you have probably been on the short Old Mine Trail on the Carbon River Road but this was the first time I actually found and understood what they did to turn coal to coke. 


Inside one of the Ovens

The town of Wilkeson also has signs and photos depicting the era now gone. 


10 miles 1000' elevation gain.