First Trail Run: Twin Falls Trail in Olallie State Park

Expectations can really play a powerful role in your end feelings and immediate impressions of an outing or adventure.

Some background: After running the Seattle half marathon last November, I got into a running rut, which really means for whatever reason after the big event, I stopped running.  Sure I walked, chased after Bergen, went on an occasional hike, but I wasn’t taking any time to really exert myself in a run even though it takes little to no planning at all.

A couple of months ago, I changed that by setting a goal and signing up for a race. Instead of the usual road race, I opted for something new, something I’ve thought about doing in the past, but never worked hard enough to achieve.  I decided to give trail running a try, and what better way get started than to commit yourself to a half marathon trail run?

I’ve diligently (mostly)  followed my usual half marathon training plan, except with the change of trying to add more trails than sidewalks, which is tricky being a city dweller, but not so tricky considering we live in Seattle with it’s multitude of parks and easy accessibility to mountains.  I run on the trails in the arboretum and Seward Park, but up until last weekend, I hadn’t attempted, in my mind, a true trail run.

Trail-Portland, Oregon |

In order to make this first run happen, I needed to make it a family affair.  I would run, and Slaed would hike with Bergen in the backpack carrier.  I scoured my hiking books for the perfect spot.  It needed to be within 30-45 minutes driving distance, new to us, good for kids, and EASY.

I found the Twin Falls trail in Olallie State Park to fit all of our requirements.

Snoqualmie River: Twin Falls Trail, Olallie State Park |

  • At about 35 miles East of Seattle it was an easy drive down I-90.  Bergen indeed got a little impatient, but we just kept telling him that we were headed to an amazing state park with a waterfall and he would soon be outside free to roam and wander.

Toddler on the Trail: Twin Falls, Olallie State Park |

  • It’s funny that given the proximity and circumstances of the trail and scenery that we’d never visited Olallie State Park or Twin Falls.  When we arrived and saw how many cars were lining the parking lot, we were even more surprised.
  • Relatively low mileage to the main attraction, some good stretches of flat terrain, and the overall excitement of viewing a gushing waterfall (from a nice, safe bridge with solid railings) make this a great spot for kids. There are also benches along way for breaks, and at the beginning or on the way back, there are great spots to stop along the river to watch the water roll by & throw rocks.

Twin Falls, Olallie State Park |

  • Remember that bit above about expectations? Well, all the books & websites said this hike was going to be EASY.  Apparently when you go out for your first true trail run in a long time, it’s just going to be really tough no matter what.  Hiking is also a little tougher when you have a toddler on your back in a backpack carrier.  I guess when we saw that the hike was rated as EASY, we were thinking it would be “a walk in the park”.  We also didn’t just hike/run to the waterfall and go back.  I continued my run for a total of about 6 miles round trip while Slaed & Bergen hiked about 4 miles.

Dad & Toddler: Twin Falls, Olallie State Park |

Our expectations of what the hike and run would be like may have been different from the reality, but we’re so happy to have discovered this spot for ourselves.  I just had to change up my strategy a bit.  I took some walk breaks, especially after some tough switchbacks, and also took some breaks just to enjoy the scenery instead of trying to plow through without stopping.  I’m new at this, maybe that’s what your supposed to do?

Twin Falls, Olallie State Park |

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12 thoughts on “First Trail Run: Twin Falls Trail in Olallie State Park

  1. Lucky you! When my daughter was that age hiking was impossible. She would squawk until we let her out of the Ergo, walk ten feet and sit down on the ground to explore the rocks, leaves and twigs that were there. We’d usually get about 100 feet into the woods and give up on walking and just play in the woods. I guess I have to admire her curiousity and persistance.

    • Thanks, Eileen. Oh no…I can imagine that would be pretty tough–yes, we are lucky that Bergen has enjoyed it so much, so far. He did really well in the ergo, but loves the big backpack carrier even more, I think because he’s up so high (although it’s SO much more work due to the increased weight).
      Guess you just had to change your outlook on “hiking” for a while 🙂 You probably saw things in a whole new way!

  2. Wow – a half marathon trail run sounds really cool – and really hard! The Twin Falls Trail looks so beautiful. I think that I would have spent more time stopping and taking photos than I did running!

    • I know!! It’s going to be really hard! I’m not sure what I got myself into, Lisa!!

      The whole photo thing was hard for me. As we were parting ways at the trailhead, I had my camera strapped around me, and Slaed looked at me like I was crazy, so I handed it over to him 🙂 Luckily he took some great shots of Bergen & I stole it away from him later on…

  3. Bergen sounds like he is a lucky boy being taken into places that most kids never get to see its a pity more people don’t make the effort to get thier kids no matter what age into the wilderness.

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