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.
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.
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.
Both of these children pass away at a young age.
These three died on the same day. One was in their 20s and the other two were in their 30s.
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!
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.
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.
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.