Federation Forest State Park is a small jewel that runs between the Chinook Scenic Byway and the White River, within Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest. At an elevation of 1,650 feet its 12 miles of trails and 619 acres remain relatively snow-free year round.
Families will enjoy a stop at this day-use park, which features trails, an interpretive center/gift shop, picnic areas and restrooms. The trails, soft and cushy from forest duff, wind through dense stands of towering old-growth evergreens dripping with thick moss. A staircase and boardwalk lead down to the 19,000-foot-long section of waterfront along the north bank of the White River. The power of the river and its ability to change the landscape is evident. On occasion, deer or elk may be visible grazing along the bank.
Part of the intrigue of this park lies in its history. Settlers with the Longmire party walked through this very area in 1853 as they descended from Naches Pass, headed for the Puget Sound. Many of the same majestic trees that greeted them still stand. Evidence of early visitors includes remnants of an 1850 wagon road and an old cabin from the 1800s. Springboard notches, used by 19th century loggers, are visible in huge fir stumps.
Pick the right trail and kids will delight in "discovering" a tiny gnome village, carefully tended by a mysterious group of local hikers. Kids can open small doors, peer into windows and leave tiny gifts or notes to the gnomes.
Federation Forest is a great first stop on the Byway. Drive through Enumclaw and continue east on SR 410 for 18 miles. Turn right just past milepost 41. The Interpretive Center at the park is closed in winter, but trails are always open. Guided ranger tours can be arranged by calling 360-663-2207 in spring/summer seasons.
For more information, visit the Federation Forest State Park website.