Activities & Resources
Old Sauk River Trail050in Darrington, WA 98241
about Old Sauk River Trail:
The trail follows the bottle-green Sauk River upstream for about three miles. It's shady, gains no elevation, and (although narrow in places) has few roots or rocks in it - our two-year-old traversed it with ease and without the discomfort of hiking in the sun on a hot day. It cuts through a lush undergrowth of mosses, native perennials, ferns, vine maples, and red huckleberries, punctuated by huge moss-draped trees. The place, despite its accessibility, feels positively primeval.
You won't find river access here, and when you glimpse the fast-flowing Sauk, you'll see that it's just as well. Look for clearings where you can catch a glimpse of it. About 30 minutes into a slow hike, look on your left for a clearing large enough to sit. It has nice views of the river, land downstream, and rocky opposite bank, and makes a good picnic stop. Follow the trail three miles to the Mountain Loop Highway, and walk back along the highway or retrace your steps.
Be on the lookout for eagles and osprey, great blue herons, and - if you come in early fall and get lucky - spawning steelhead salmon. A guide to Western Washington's native plants is a helpful, if you come with older kids. The sheer diversity of plant life begs for identification, and you'll want to recognize native red huckleberries when their fruit ripens in mid-September.