I’ve been catching up on my photo processing, working through a few unprocessed photo shoots from last year. Here is a selection of photos from a June hike up the Boulder River Trail, in Washington State’s central Cascade Mountains.The Boulder River cuts a deep canyon through old-growth forest on its way out of the Boulder River Wilderness. The Boulder River Trail runs a few miles up through this dark mossy canyon past several waterfalls that tumble an estimated hundred feet over cliffs and right into the River.
With most of the interesting stuff in the first 1-1/2 miles, and all below 1300 feet in elevation, the trail is hikeable nearly all year. But my favorite time of year is May or June, when the water is running hard from glacier melt and spring rains, and the trees and brush have leafed out to fill the canyon with green foliage. Not only is the foliage fresh green, but so is the glacier-fed River itself, making the place a riot of green and white.
The river is a great place to photograph on an overcast or rainy day. Cloud cover provides nice even diffuse light. Shooting through a polarizing filter reduces glare on the foliage to reveal the rich green colors underneath. The polarizing filter also reduces exposure time by 2 stops, thus helping to provide the 1+ second shutter speeds necessary for smoothly blurred waterfalls and rivers. Definitely tripod country!
Basic trail information:
- The Boulder River Trail is located within Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington State’s Snohomish County nearly Darrington.
- Directions: Drive Hwy 530 nearly 20 miles from Arlington towards Darrington. Turn right onto Forest Service Road 2010 just past milepost 41. Drive past French Creek Campground to the trailhead, 3.6 miles from the highway.
- A Recreation Permit is required for parking at the trailhead.
- The trail is fairly easy, but often quite muddy. However, social trails dropping down to the River itself can be steep and treacherous and the River itself is swift and would be dangerous to fall into.