Forum Index > Trip Reports > Old Robe & Lime Kiln Trip/Trail Report 5-14-05
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Elvis
Shuffl'n



Joined: 09 Jun 2004
Posts: 1803 | TRs
Location: del Boca Vista
Elvis
Shuffl'n
PostMon May 16, 2005 10:42 am 
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Info from other posts here at NWH led me to schedule a trip to Old Robe Trail and Lime Kiln Trail - both 'near' Granite Falls.

Old Robe Trail:

**The trail description from  USFS notes that a NW Forest Pass is required for parking... but I didn't see any mention of it at the trailhead.  I accidentally left mine in my backpack, but didn't receive a ticket, FYI.)**
Trail Info

Arrived at Trailhead at about 9:45 and started down the trail, which was easy to follow as it descended through some switchbacks toward the river.  There were a few side trails at the switchback corners, but all were blocked by small logs laid down to help keep people from experiencing what I call Pilchuck Confusion Syndrome.  confused.gif

Once down by the river, the trail flattened out as it entered the canyon.  Part of the trail appeared to be well-packed sand... I assume a result of previous flooding. (See pic).

Shortly thereafter, the trail turns into Rocks/Concrete/Slippery Timbers as it follows an old railroad grade.  It is neat to walk on, but provides infinite possibilities for turning an ankle or slipping onto your backside.  I recommend you use caution.

We crossed a couple of landslide areas and safely passed through two caves.  If the trail was closed after the first tunnel (as indicated at the trailhead sign) I didn't seen any reminders to 'stop here' - although my hiking buddy claims to have seen such signs.

While crossing through the first tunnel we heard a small tumble of rocks.  I assumed it was from my hiking buddies behind me - but they claim it wasn't them.  It's a good idea to always use caution when you have millions of tons of rocks over your head, I guess.

The first tunnel was the longer of the two and, while it appeared almost pitch black from outside looking in, once you start through it you find there is ample light to check your footing along the way.  Flashlight wouldn't hurt, though.  The second tunnel is much shorter and easier to navigate... if it's not passed the 'trail closed' section.  (Pics are of second tunnel).

We finally came to a large jumble of boulders which I believe was at one time a tunnel, now collapsed.  We followed the trail  to the top of the pile and then encountered a crow, raven or blackbird standing on a nearby rock squawking loudly while her mate flew around echoing the same complaints.  We heeded their warning and turned around at that point.  Besides their squawking, we were at the edge of another significant landslide which didn't have an obvious safe trail to follow.  Enough for us.  Turned around and back to the car.

This was a great trail and mileage/elevation was reasonable for all skills - but the trail obstacles in places were 'significant'.  Saw numerous parties with dogs (on and off leash) and a few kids (hold their hands, Please!!).  A cool trail to show off to those visiting from out of state.

Lime Kiln Trail:

We hiked this to the Lime Kiln... part of the trail was on an old road with 8 foot high blackberry bushes on both sides... bring a bucket for them in season.  Unfortunately, the rest of the trail, while easy to follow, was already becoming overgrown with bushes.  In addition, I didn't find the views or scenery to be on par with other trails in the area.  The fact that I've done it and can cross it off my list is appreciated - but I don't expect to travel this particular trail again.

The trail continued after the Lime Kiln to a 'river loop'... but we opted to cut our losses and turnaround.  The river was still aways below us... and we knew we already had a lot of elevation to regain as it was.

I am glad to report we saw two snails on the trail and also a little tiny bunny rabbit.  We saw the bunny on the way in and again on the way out... both times he was resting on the side of the trail but scampered away before I could get out the camera.  Cute little guy.

GPS Users note:

I have an eTrek Legend GPS... there were only one or two spots on these trails (combined) where I could get adequate satellite coverage.  One of my hiking buddies had another type of GPS (not an eTrek) that fared much better.  FYI.

This concludes my 'easy hikes' for the year.  My next scheduled hike date isn't until June 18th... considering Winchester Mtn or Yellow Aster Butte.

Thanks for reading the report and checking out the pictures.  Hopefully someone, somewhere at sometime will find the info useful.

>EDIT:  Adding a pic from flickr
Old Robe Canyon scenery
Old Robe Canyon scenery

~E

--------------
"Ill habits gather unseen degrees, as brooks make rivers, rivers run to seas."  ~John Dryden
My Trip List




P1010077.JPG
RR Grade - cememt, rocks and timer - be careful!
 P1010077.JPG (116 KB)
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P1010078.JPG
Landslide area
 P1010078.JPG (122 KB)
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Stillaguamish River from trail
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Short Tunnel
 P1010094.JPG (51 KB)
File downloaded or viewed 211 time(s)

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Sandy Path
 P1010116.JPG (61 KB)
File downloaded or viewed 190 time(s)

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Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore



Joined: 15 May 2003
Posts: 14139 | TRs

Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore
PostMon May 16, 2005 10:52 am 
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Sorry you didn't enjoy Lime Kiln like others have done.  But it never was meant to take you to grand views of mountains and sweeping valleys; its old growth, lush forest, and history is the draw.  The Loop goes right down to the Stilly, where you can rock-hop among the swirling eddys, and with more historic stuff to see, if you care to.

In my opinion, you missed out!

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"...Other than that, the post was more or less accurate."

Bernardo, NW Hikers' Bureau Chief of Reporting
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Slugman
Slower than ever



Joined: 27 Mar 2003
Posts: 15934 | TRs

Slugman
Slower than ever
PostMon May 16, 2005 11:05 am 
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It's a shame that Garmin's inability to make a GPS antenna that actually works is turning so many people off from GPS in general. Try a Magellan, you'll find that it works almost everywhere, even in narrow canyons and under heavy tree cover. Mine even locks in my position sitting at my computer, 8 feet from the nearest window. And mine is low-end Magellan over three years old.

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Just another tequila sunrise....
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Snowshoe Hare
Defunct lagomorph



Joined: 03 Dec 2004
Posts: 1186 | TRs

Snowshoe Hare
Defunct lagomorph
PostMon May 16, 2005 11:54 am 
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To each his own but may I suggest reading up on the history of the area here and here
(Oso Publishing will have copies I'm sure) and checking out this website and you'd probably appreciate the area more.  There's even scheduled work parties going on right now in the canyon to clear away the overgrown bushes along the trail.  smile.gif

The USFS info is incorrect and way out of date. Parking at both trailheads (Old Robe and Lime Kiln across the river) is free and both are part of Snohomish County Robe Canyon Historic Park. The county has signage after Tunnel #5 (the second shorter one you come to on Old Robe Trail) saying the trail is closed at this point. You proceed at your own risk after that. Most people and especially those with children wouldn't want to proceed further anyway- the trail becomes much rougher and hazardous and ultimately is gone after the cut that was Tunnel #4 (now blocked by landslide)- an enormous canyon rim-to-river slide (s) has wiped out the former rail grade, blocking further access downstream between tunnels #4 and #3. Tunnel #3 even if you could get to it is caved at both ends.
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Elvis
Shuffl'n



Joined: 09 Jun 2004
Posts: 1803 | TRs
Location: del Boca Vista
Elvis
Shuffl'n
PostMon May 16, 2005 12:46 pm 
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Quark & Snowshoe Hare -

Thanks for the feedback on the trail... maybe I'll venture back some day.

I had visited this website beforehand... but I guess I simply had different expectations from the get-go.  Sincerely, the Volunteers did a nice job on the trail, with plenty of signage to keep people on the right path, mileage info and historic notes.  Nice bridges also.

I really enjoyed the Old Robe trail and also prior visits to the Monte Cristo area... and maybe if I had done this hike on a different day I would have been a little more appreciative of its offerings.

We took the required photos of the big saw blade, the lime kiln and a few other artifacts... it's too bad that I may have missed the jewel of the trail by continuing onward.  I promise to not black it out on my list - I'll just 'shade of grey' it.

Snowshoe Hare - your 'website' link wouldn't work for me - but I'm going to checkout the books.  Thanks.

Slugman - I think my buddy had a Magellen C-something (color screen) that seemed to work pretty well on these trails, but he left it in his pack most of the time.

~E

--------------
"Ill habits gather unseen degrees, as brooks make rivers, rivers run to seas."  ~John Dryden
My Trip List
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Snowshoe Hare
Defunct lagomorph



Joined: 03 Dec 2004
Posts: 1186 | TRs

Snowshoe Hare
Defunct lagomorph
PostMon May 16, 2005 1:19 pm 
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Well you're forgiven for the lackluster review.  headrub.gif  That link of mine that didn't work for you was the one you checked out, robecanyon.org.

I admit that probably for most folks the Old Robe Trail is more interesting, shorter, more initial bang-for-the-buck, with the tunnels, river so close by, old concrete abutments with some railroad ties still in them, etc, but the Lime Kiln Trail offers a different experience with more of a rainforest look, it's higher initially above the Stillaguamish, has the neat old relic of the 30' tall lime kiln and a spooky magical partly flooded  quarry that fed it just above it a ways, and at the trail's end a neat short loop that takes you right down to the river's edge amongst many boulders- a perfect lunch spot and probably will turn out to be a nice place to take a quick dip too! In addition a spur off the end loop leads right to where the bridge stood that crossed the Stilly and directly entered Tunnel #1 (the Kissing Tunnel of local lore), the longest tunnel along the Everett and Monte Cristo Railway- approx a 1000' straight cut.

The concrete bridge abutments still remain below and at low water some of the tangled remains of struts from the Howe bridge can be seen just downstream across the river. There is no sign that a tunnel even existed now, due to many slides over the years and revegation over its western portal.

Really, though, I encourage anyone with an interest in Robe Canyon and the railroad check out those books by Phil Woodhouse I linked to, they are marvelous reads.
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