This website exists to help preserve the natural state of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie valley by promoting responsible low-impact recreation and providing information on the history and the effects of human activity now and in the past.

People value what they know and enjoy, but when land is private or inaccessible, it’s largely ignored except by a hardy few which leads to apathy. Through the efforts of many individuals, groups, and agencies, the Middle Fork is now almost all accessible public land and is slowly recovering from past abuses to become a wild outdoor treasure. Places like this make the northwest special and it will take continued effort to keep it that way. Tread lightly, pick up trash, join a trail crew, leave no trace.

Upper Garfield BalconyPrinted via online service in July, 2012, some to Mom

Upper Garfield Balcony

As of January, 2014 this site is well under way, but I have not attempted to advertise or promote it yet. If you stumble across it that’s great, but it’s still missing some basics, such as coverage for the official trails in the Middle Fork. I’m regularly adding news items, recent and historical, and will be filling out the information on the peaks, trees, rivers and trails. Check back later, please!

Finally, please consider whether you have any photos in your shoebox that might find a better home on this site to be enjoyed by others. Check out the Contributions page to see what I’m looking for.

Monty VanderBilt

19 thoughts on “About

  1. Karen Portin

    Monty, I sure the information you provide on this site. I particularly like the chronology. And the News section is very helpful. Thanks very much!

  2. Venetia Hancock

    Thank you very much. As a new inhabitant of the MF I greatly value this info. I have lived in East King Co. most of my life and recently got my little slice of heaven. I am a fool for local history both natural and social. I look forward (greedily I might add) to further posts. Keep up the good work.

  3. Leon

    Hi Monty, website looks great! looking forward to visit this beautiful place some day.

  4. Stephen Cobert

    Thank you so much for starting this website. The Mid Fork Valley is a beautiful diamond in the rough and it’s great to have passionate leaders like you to help direct its future use. There is a lot of potential for future trails in this area. My latest interest has been to explore some of the old growth forest remnants that by some miracle escaped the loggers axes. Big Cedar Flat absolutely blew me away. CCC Grove was also very impressive. Both areas are hard to find but that is probably best so they wont get too trampled. I’m looking forward to exploring other sites. It would be cool if there was a section on this website dedicated to exploring old growth remnants. For delicate sites that might get trampled, a nondetailed description would probably be best so only a few dedicated folk would actually be able to find it.

    I also wanted to mention that your maps are outstanding. I’ve never seen better. Very crisp and bold. Trails pop at the most important feature, as they should. Topo and shading informative but not too busy. You nailed this perfectly!


    Monty, Keep up the blog!

    Your maps & pics of climbs on Flickr are great! Copies = $?

    I won’t be able to climb in MF due to infirmities, (Agent Orange, another story!), but I will travel with you via blog, Flickr and NWTrails!

    However, I will visit the MF one of these summers, if B Jackson agrees, since I am “The Base Jumper w/o parachute ” from my fall off the 2990′ level adit, May 1969.

    June 1960, we met Bill Morrow in his Model T Truck with two dogs (one in each Fender Well) at Dingford Creek Bridge. David Young and I had just come down from Hester and Myrtle Lakes when he arrived driving the Model T with White Rubber Tires! We could hardly believe our eyes, while meeting Big Bill an his dogs! He was friendly and enjoying the new piece of road Bear Creek (?) had built up to the Galbraith Bros Properties, (Clipper Adit). Twelve years later we met his sister Veida in her office in Greenwood.

    In between those years I graduated Seattle Pacific College, travelled to SE Asia courtesy US Army 4th Infantry Division, core-drilled at Sultan King for Bren-Mac, worked in mill at Kromona Mine, core-drilled for Bob Grant, then fell (w/o parachute), 220 feet below the 2990′ adit on the Hemlock Claims. After a couple surgeries and three years, I came back to work for Harvey and Bob at the 2550′ adit. That winter a tremendous snow slide came down in February (1972), and covered the road over 150 feet high! Harvey and Roy used the Cat to pull one pickup up and over the pile, to transfer people, fuel, groceries and other supplies up to camp. The rest of the vehicles stayed on either side!

    Summer of 1973 I was still recovering from my fall and only visited the job while Galvin Lord and Claude Peachy core-drilled at the adit. We started back driving adit in September 1973. I worked portal again until December, while the miners drove to 2500 feet distance.

    May 1974 I travelled to the Alaska Range, Purkeypile Prospect, with H Honsey and drilled for lead, silver, and tin. The scenery was terrific and the conditions pretty good for core-drilling. That fall, we stopped working at Purkeypile and I moved up further north, operating Rolligons on the North Slope Oilfield and surrounding area, (OK, ANOTHER STORY). thirty-five years later, we returned to the states from Alaska!

    Robert Hammond
    (publish this email is OK)
    Marana, AZ

  6. Steve Carlson

    This web site is great! My wife and I have done a number of the hikes described here and plan to do more. I have a question about the Green Mountain trail. The log across the first creek you encounter has been cut, so now you need to wade the creek. Why was this done? I must have happened in the last several weeks.

    1. mvanderbilt Post author

      I did not know the log was cut, so thanks for the alert, I’ll check it out. The bridge was badly damaged in a series of storms in late 2015 and it may have been removed as a safety issue. It’s on DNR land but it was a user-built trail, so the DNR does not maintain it.

      Update: A DNR representative said the first segment of the Sitka Spruce trail is not in a sustainable location, passing through wet areas and over tree roots. They cut the damaged bridge to discourage use of this trail and are investigating other ways to access the CCC trail.

  7. Nadine Byers

    What species is the Big Tree off the Pratt river trail?

    Also your web site is great.

    1. mvanderbilt Post author

      Thanks for asking. Yes, I expect to complete the maps but no timeline! I’m retired and enjoy not having deadlines anymore. I focus on getting outdoors and doing constructive work in the Middle Fork. It’s also an ambiguous issue for me about how much to publish and how much to leave to others to explore. My fun came from discovering things by wandering into different areas and I’m becoming more inclined to let others go through the same process. It’s an awesome valley with interesting things to find in almost every valley and up every ridge.

  8. Timothy Lake

    Did u post a picture of a wolf standing in the middle of the road last year up the middle fork of the Snoqualmie? I thought I saw the picture posted on nwhiker.net but I can’t find it now.

  9. Roland Wiens

    I really enjoy using your site to gather information about the Middle Fork. I spent some time in the valley in the early ’90’s hiking and deer hunting above the CCC trail and actually got a deer at the highest part of a clear cut. Now, after 28 years, trees have grown up so much I can’t pinpoint where that was. One year, maybe 1996, we had a snowless February and I was in my pickup near Dingford creek and saw a small herd of elk cross the road.
    After the paving project, I have begun exploring the Middle Fork again, this time I am focusing on the Pratt River. The history of the logging railroad really has my attention and imagination. 4/27/19 I hiked to the Ginger Creek crossing and took note of a land drop that must have happened years ago. I turned around there and hiked to the Big Tree. On the way I saw where another RR grade that went down slope. At the Big Tree I marveled at the giant and was happy the loggers left it standing. Do you know why? I thought about looking at the river because the Big Tree sign said it was only another 1/4 mile. The only route I thought I should follow was the eroded skid road but gave that up quickly due to it being choked full of brush and downed trees. Above the Big Tree I saw a less eroded grade going up hill and followed it up and came out where the main trail meets the RR grade. This grade seems steep to be used by logging trains, was this route used by crawlers and skidders? It is obvious the slighter grade had ties and rails. I was really hoping to see impressions of humps left by the ties in the bed and wasn’t disappointed. The rest of the main trail to the connector looks like an old skid road but am not certain. I have studied the map you included and it seems you have the 1925 logging railroad route accurate. How did you come by this? I have seen a few old maps, but they don’t seem as accurate.
    As you can probably tell I a have a curiosity about the railroad route and I would love to explore it. I suppose most of the route is too overgrown now, but I wonder if clearing it out could give hikers a new trail that started over by Granite creek. River and stream crossings might be limited to late summer. Have you explored any of these routes? I can see on Google earth evidence of more routes in the upper drainage below Thompson lake.
    Anyway, thanks for running this site, I come back to it again and again when I am planning my next trip.

  10. Peter Stevens

    Monty, thanks so much for all your work up and about the Middle Fork! Do you know of a map or maps that name all the peaks up the Middle Fork?


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