Just a few miles out of Granite Falls on the Mountain Loop Highway you will find a sign on the side of the road that reads Old Robe Valley Trail. There is not a parking lot, only road side parking. This makes cars very susceptible to car prowls. Make sure you leave nothing of value behind in your car. We could see glass on the ground, evidence of unfortunate hikers who had their windows smashed and car burgled.
The trail leads off into the woods and down several switchbacks into the Robe Canyon. As you head down the switchbacks keep an eye out for the old abandoned car. After you reach the bottom it won’t take you long to find the river and the railroad tracks running along it. There are many small wash outs before you reach where the trail is closed at about 1.5 miles right before the first train tunnel. Much of the trail has been washed out here. When the trail was in better condition years ago, you could make your way through three train tunnels, but these days it’s a short hike with less of a pay-off.
These washouts also plagued the railroad and are a factor in why the line was eventually abandoned. The rail line is over 120 years old and ran from Everett to Monte Cristo. It brought mined Ore and logs into Everett for processing and shipping. The river and the steep sides of the canyon proved challenging with frequent slides and washouts hindering the trains route.
Despite the trail closure before the first tunnel, its still a fairly scenic hike. Check out our adventure map for location information.