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Franklin Townsite

Our Hiking Time: 1h 30m
Total Ascent: 300ft
Highest Point: 800ft
Total Distance: 2.2 miles
Location: N 47° 17.5980, W 121° 58.0860
Required Permit: None
Difficulty: Easy

Nathan's Photo
Continuing this winter’s theme of visiting ghost towns and abandoned places, we recently explored the Franklin Townsite near Black Diamond. Like many former mining communities in Washington, much of the once-bustling town is now gone, much of it reclaimed by nature. Still, enough cement and metal remains to hint at the coal-centered community that called Franklin home for more than 30 years.

franklin ghost town hikingwithmybrotherFranklin is a fun little adventure on those days that you cannot make it out to the mountains. While it is not exactly a traditional hike, it is a walk steeped in the history of this state. Its obscurity and somewhat confusing access makes it likely that you’ll have the ghost town to yourself and lends a feeling of remoteness. There is also much more to explore in Franklin – it’s possible to head down to the site of the coal bridge or get permission from Palmer to hike to the top of Franklin Hill. A day spent tromping around Franklin is well worth the trip.

There's a lot more to Franklin Townsite, and you can learn all about it in our book, Hiking Through History Washington.  You'll find a trail map, route descriptions, history, and more for this and many more hikes throughout the State. Help support hikingwithmybrother.com and the work we do by picking up a copy!

To get there, take I-5 South to 405. Take Exit 4 off 405 onto SR 169. Follow SR 169 for 18 miles into Black Diamond to Lawson St. Take a left and follow Lawson as it changes into Green River Gorge Road. About three-and-a-half miles from Black Diamond as the road bends toward the Green River Gorge Bridge, find a chain-link gate on the right. This is the access point. Find parking on the roadside or at the nearby cemetery. -Nathan

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Franklin Ghost Town


KathyM said...

Did you see the cool fossils behind the grated mine entrance on the Franklin hike? The whole rock wall is full of leaf fossils.

Jer said...

Shoot, we didn't know those were there! Thanks for the cool tip though.

Sedona Hiking said...

Maybe it's just me but as interesting as ghost towns and cemeteries are, I think I'll pass. I don't think I can hike through them without shuddering or getting goose bumps. I know, it so sissy of me.

Geoff said...

Love the area, didn't know specifically about Franklin. I believe your directions are incorrect though - you want to make a left turn onto Lawson St (if you are coming from the North...)

Nathan said...

Geoff -

Appreciate the heads up, I've updated the post. We actually came at it from the south, which is where my confusion came in!

Thanks again,


Harley said...

I'm going to take my wife on this this weekend, weather permitting. How will dogs fare on it?

Nathan said...

Harley -

The dogs will be fine. The approach to the mine shaft is a forest road, and the trail out to the cemetery is a little overgrown but all in all it should be fine for the pups. There were a couple of blowdowns when we were there, but nothing serious. Have fun!

Mac said...

Went up just last weekend, had the place to ourself in the morning, very haunting that once 1,000's of people lived, worked and some died there and yet almost nothing remains - the walk out to the cemetary was nice and then just to find the headstones all overgrown - very sad. And when I realized that most died around 30 years old and if that we're me I'd alread been dead for 20+ years - very sad - but a great experience.

Jer said...

Hi Mac, Glad you had a good experience. This hike is definitely a walk back in time. Thanks for following the blog!

Anonymous said...

This is very refreshing area with deep river gorge view, but the trail starts being covered with nettles and blackberry bushes.

Izabella Blue said...

Thanks for the info on this one! We took it a couple weeks ago, it was so quiet & peaceful. Loved it!

Christy Calton said...

We hiked up here this morning with our three young kids. Parking was a bit tricky. The people up there who own private land easement have put up signs charging people $5. Luckily we knew we didn't need to pay. We parked near the cemetery up the street a little.

Jer said...

Hi Christy, Thanks for the update, and glad you were able to use our info to find parking! -Jer

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