The Carnation Two River Adventure

Family-Friendly Hiking Series from Snoqualmie Valley-Issaquah-Sammamish Macaroni Kid

By James Szubski – Adventure Dad May 28, 2018

Explore and play on the beaches and banks of two rivers and then cross a unique 500-foot long suspension bridge over the Snoqualmie on this quick and easy hike. During the hot summer months when the rivers are slow, come prepared to enjoy wading and swimming.

To get there, take Highway 203 towards Carnation. As you near the town coming from the east, you will see signs for Remlinger Farms, and then you will cross over a steel bridge. Turn left 500 feet after the bridge into an unmarked driveway.  Follow the driveway back towards the bridge and park in the lot that runs parallel to the river. The lot is a part of the Tolt-MacDonald King County Park. 

Out of the car, our kids love to check out the stony bank of the Tolt River right away. Once your crew is ready to get moving, head towards the far side of the parking lot (away from the bridge) and look for the Log Jam Trail that runs alongside the river.  There are two interesting interpretive signs at the trailhead. It’s fun to read them to your kids and then to look for related features on the hike. 

As you follow the half-mile trail let your kids explore the side paths to the left.  They all provide access to the ever-changing riverside.  Eventually you will come to a T intersection with a wider, stony path. Turn right, walk a short distance, and then look for the short trails that provide access down to the sandy Snoqualmie River beaches. We’ve spent hours there splashing and playing on hot days.

Wander upstream a short way to the confluence of the Tolt and the Snoqualmie Rivers.  Tell your kids that for thousands of years, this area was the site of a major Snoqualmie tribal village. Ask your kids to imagine people arriving from all over the area in wooden canoes for big celebrations right here on the banks of these rivers.  

If you look up the Snoqualmie River, you will see the bridge over Tolt Hill Road. If you look downstream you will see a long, thin suspension bridge. Ask your kids if they would like to check it out. 

Leave the beach the same way you came. The original trail continues away from the river and quickly comes to the Tolt MacDonald campground. Look across the open field for the flag pole and follow the camp road around to it. At the base of the flag is an information kiosk, and next to that is the suspension bridge. 

You can see through the floor of the bridge and it does sway a bit. This makes crossing it feel like a real adventure especially for little ones. For those that are nervous, offer options like a piggy back ride or holding hands to get them started.  Most figure out it’s safe half way across and feel very brave for completing the crossing on their own. 

As you cross ask your kids to imagine steam-powered paddle boats transporting goods and people up and down the river.  In the 1870’s, a small fleet of them acted as the main form of farm produce transportation in the Snoqualmie Valley.

On the far side of the bridge is a yurt camping area, a covered picnic shelter, and a fun set of trails.  If you want to extend your hike another mile and a half follow the signs for Cottonwood Loop. There’s another picnic shelter and a beautiful trail through the woods. A few times we found mosquitoes in this area so it’s a good idea to bring bug spray. Here’s a link to a map of the trails.

To get back to the car cross the bridge back to the flag pole.  Look for the easy-to-spot red shed on the camp loop road. Near it there is a paved trail that leads back to the parking area. Dotted with interesting interpretive signs, it winds past mysterious swamps and through bright, open fields. Stick to the right at the paved intersections and you should have no trouble getting back to the parking lot.


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