Much to enjoy outside In Granite Falls
Eagles Park: Located in the 700 block of East Galena. Eagles Park features a gazebo and grassy picnic area and is great for family gatherings or a quiet afternoon outside.
Jack Webb Park: Located at the corner of South Granite and Galena. Jack Webb Park is home to a beautiful new public restroom facility, which will be christened at this year’s Arts-In-The-Parks celebration. This small park is a nice place to stop and rest for a while and read a book.
Jim Holm Park: Located right next to City Hall on South Granite Avenue. This park features picnic tables, a covered picnic area, barbeques, playground equipment and a basketball court. Warm days find it packed with kids of all ages, enjoying the sunshine and the companionship of good friends. The covered area can be reserved for special events by calling the City of Granite Falls at 360-691-6441.
Jordan Bridge Park: Located on the Jordan Road outside of Granite Falls. This small Snohomish County park offers easy access to the South Fork of the Stillaguamish River. A great place to swim and relax during the summer.
River Scene Park: A small Snohomish County park located across Jordan Bridge on the outskirts of Granite Falls. It provides easy access to the South Fork of the Stillaguamish River. It is enjoyed by fishermen and people who enjoy relaxing by the riverside.
Mountain Loop Highway: Granite Falls is gateway to the Mountain Loop Highway, designated a National Scenic Byway by the federal government. If you take a day to drive the loop, you’ll soon see why. Spectacular mountain scenery and breathtaking vistas are around every corner.
If you decide to stop the car along the way, you’ll find more than 360 miles of hiking trails. In addition to hiking, visitors can enjoy fishing, hunting and camping in the spring and summer months and snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter.
Just 11 miles east of town, has maps of campgrounds and trails. A Northwest Forest Pass is required at trailheads in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. Hikers can buy a $30 annual pass or a $5 day pass at the ranger station or can be ordered by calling 1-800-270-7504 or ordered on-line.
Driving east from Granite Falls on the Mountain Loop Highway, you’ll find the beautiful Robe Valley, Robe Canyon and eventually, Big Four Mountain and the Ice Caves. If you keep driving you’ll come to Barlow Pass.
Here the road turns to gravel but it continues to be a scenic drive (passable in summer months only). You’ll end up in Darrington, another small town to the north. From there you can take Highway 530 back to Highway 9 and come back south to Highway 92 and Granite Falls.
Some points of interest along the Mountain Loop:
Falls and Fish Ladder: When driving out the Mountain Loop Highway, be sure to see the actual Granite Falls and adjacent fish ladder, located off the highway, about a mile out of town.
Robe Canyon Historic Park: Located six miles east of Granite Falls on the Mountain Loop Highway. The mile-long trail takes you from the road down to the river and offers breathtaking views for the Robe Canyon. The return hike can be a challenge and portions of the trail may be inaccessible during rainy or winter months.
The trail was build by Boy Scout Troop 43 of Lake Stevens in the 1960’s. A longer, 7.5 mile trail is in the works as part of the 1200 acre park. The Stillaguamish Citizens Alliance is spearheading this effort and leads volunteer groups of trail-builders on Saturdays in the spring and summer months.
Ice Caves: Three caverns at the base of permanent ice field, the Ice Caves are a popular stop. The Verlot Ranger Station is the access point for Big Four Ice Caves Trail #723.
The caves themselves are very dangerous and visitors are encouraged to simply hike up to the caves and then back again without actually going inside. In recent years, visitors to the Ice Caves sustained serious injuries or were killed when large chunks of ice suddenly fell from the cave ceiling.
Monte Cristo Ghost Town: At the top of Barlow Pass on the Mountain Loop Highway sits the ghost town of Monte Cristo. Gold from the Monte Cristo mines caused a “gold rush” from 1889 through the 1920’s. The railroad was closed in 1903, the track was dismantled in 1936, and sold to Japan as scrap iron.
Three short abandoned tunnels of the Monte Cristo Railroad and the town itself are just four miles off the highway and are accessible by foot or mountain bike. Parking is available at Barlow Pass. The nonprofit, volunteer Monte Cristo Preservation Association maintains the road and site.