I had been curious about the metal bridge that crosses the river in the Tumwater canyon near Leavenworth for years. I had always meant to stop and last summer I finally did stop. I wasn't prepared for a hike but I parked the car and walked down to view the bridge and walk across it. Upon doing that I ran into a local that said there was a trail on the other side that continued west for about a mile. So this week a friend and I made the drive over the pass to check out the trail which is used more by locals than hikers from the west. It is mentioned in the information packet from the Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce and it may be on the Forest Service database but am not sure.
Long story, short hike so I'll try not to make this too long. Trail has two stream crossings -- one small, the other requiring some expertise. Many flowers -- Tweedy lewisia, columbine (yellow), white shooting stars, mariposa lilies, lomatium, lupine, huge thimbleberry blossoms -- and these are only a few. Hidden sandy beaches along the river with views across to climbing rocks and on this quiet Thursday there were climbers on the rocks. Little paths go uphill and downhill at several points along the trail and did not have time to check them all out. The trail nears the site of a burn and then comes to an obvious end. When it turns into a scramble instead of a hike, that's the end of the trail and though we ventured beyond a bit only those of you who scramble should go beyond this point. You'll know it when you see it.
Since the trail follows the route of an old pipelines there are also a few artifacts scattered along the trail -- an old sign, some twisted scraps of metal -- purpose unknown to us.
The hike is very easy and scenic and if you combine it with other small hikes in the area you can easily get a day out of it. Bring lots of film and/or flower guides.
OH -- minor detail -- the bridge is near milepost 97, about 1.7 miles west of Leavenworth, 32 miles east of Stevens. Park along the road where logical. A road leads down to the bridge but it's not well marked and too easy to speed past it -- easier just to park along US 2 and find a footpath leading down to the bridge.
-------------- stay together, learn the flowers, go light - from Turtle Island, Gary Snyder
Karen, That old bridge use to carry a water pipe line from the dam just upriver from the bridge to an old powerhouse that use to be in the vicinity of the parking lot there along hwy 2. The water was used to power a couple turbines that generated electricity for the electric engines that the Great Northern Railroad used to cross Stevens Pass.
It is a neat area and there is a lot of railroad history all the way from Leavenworth to Sultan.
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