Franklin Ghost Town

Saturday’s hike marked our second attempt to get to Franklin Ghost Town. This time I had a rain jacket that was the right size, but wouldn’t you know it wasn’t really needed. It was a gloriously sunny day. I did put it on to start our hike because of the 32 degree temp, but it didn’t take long for the sun to warm us up.

Getting to the Trailhead

Check out Hiking with my Brother for driving and trailhead directions. We parked at the cemetery (which is what I recommend). Since it’s a little hard to see from the road, here is a tip. If you get to the Green River Gorge Bridge you’ve passed it already. Turn around and it’s just past the houses on the right (it will be on the left if you actually manage to see it before getting all the way to the bridge).

Once parked, head towards the bridge until you reach the chain-link fence on the right.  Go around the gate.  Keep following the trail until you get to a railcar that says “Franklin” and a wooden sign pointing to the cemetery (yep another one). The trail to the cemetery is also the trail to the old mine shaft.

Franklin Coal Cart

Getting to the Franklin Cemetery

While the Franklin cemetery is the destination, there are some sites along the way.  An old, thick metal cable across the trail, a mine shaft, an old rock structure, and some old railcar tracks.  Keep your eyes open.  We almost missed the railcar tracks and they were a highlight, in my opinion.

Franklin Rail Tracks Close-up

Cemetery

In the spring, the cemetery is hard to miss because of the daffodils planted in the area.  Most of the tombstones show that the graves are from the early 1900s.

Franklin Cemetery - Hanson Grave

Both of these children pass away at a young age.

Franklin Cemetery - Farro, Tittara, Dimarino Grave

These three died on the same day.  One was in their 20s and the other two were in their 30s.

Mount Rainier

We walked a bit further down the trail and came to a junction that appears to be either a forest or utility access road. There was also a sign indicating “Franklin Cemetery” here. We decided to go right, up the hill, just to see where it went. We turned around at the point where there was a perfect view of Mount Rainer through the trees that had been cut for utility lines. It was amazing!

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier

Bush Whacking (not recommend)

As we walked back down the hill, we were tempted to go straight past the trail we came in on.  It looked like a better trail…it was for a while, but then it disappeared and we had to bush whack our way back to the original trail (uphill). It was an experience, but next time we’ll go back the way we came.

More Structures

When we got back to the railcar, we turned left (straight if you are doing this on the way in). We found some interesting structures, but are not sure what they were. In one case, there was brick that looked like it was laid on top of an older rock foundation. And, the metal work was heavy duty (check out the bolts in the photos).

I later read that there used to be coal car bridge across the Green River.  I now wonder if at least this structure was part of that bridge.

Franklin Structure

Notes of Interest

  • There are no bathroom facilities.
  • There are no garbage cans, so take it out with you.
  • No passes are required for parking, but make sure you abide by all the No Parking signs.
  • Keep your eyes open, there are lots of signs of this old mining town along the trail. We almost missed the rail tracks and I imagine they will be easier to miss once all the bushes have leafed out.
  • Don’t bush whack…leave on the same trail you came in on.

More Photos

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13 thoughts on “Franklin Ghost Town

  1. I am curious, were the people listed on the pictures of markers the only ones in the Cemetery? I am curious to know if there were more markers . I had a relative J G Mock die there in 1931 at age 80. His obit says he was buried in the cemetery at Franklin. I would appreciate any further information that you might have or care to share.

    • I didn’t take photos of all the tombstones, so it’s quite possible there are others. Some were pretty overgrown. Also, there is a cemetery where we parked near the trailhead that also would be considered Franklin (I think). It might be worth a hike up there to look for it. Sorry that I don’t have more photos or information.

    • I’m drawn to them to. They make wonder what life was like for them.

    • Thanks Amberr. They are pretty amazing. Especially if you take the time to read the tombstones. For instance, I would love to know what happened to the three people who all died on the same day. I’m assuming there was some kind of accident.

      • True, but I’m leaning towards accident since it seems unlikely they would all die from illness on the same day. I’ll have to do some research and see if I can find anything out.

      • There was a fire that killed 37 miners. It was an explosion in a mine and the miners were trapped. That’s why they all died on the same day

      • Thanks for letting me know that. I figured it must have been something like that since several had the same date. Have you hiked to Franklin?

  2. great – those structures certainly look like old bridge supports or similar. I like your new theme also; gives us a better look at your photos 🙂

    • Yea..after reading about the bridge being destroyed I feel pretty certain too. We thought that while we were there, but didn’t see signs on the other side,, but then it was a large gorge.

    • Thanks for mentioning my new theme. I’m still working out a couple kinks (like my photos won’t center any longer and some of them look distorted now because of the width of the reading pane), but over-all I’m really happy with it.