Franklin Ghost Town & Cemetery
One of the most mysterious places in King County is the Green River Gorge. You would think with the millions of people living in the county over the last century, the 12 mile gorge would be infested with people. Somehow the opposite is true, the Green River Gorge is one of the most secluded locations in Western Washington. In 1880, coal was discovered just above the gorge which led to the creation of the town of Franklin in 1887. The town of Franklin lasted until the 1920s, with more than 1,100 people living high on the rim of the Green River Gorge. We are talking many homes, a hotel, school, two saloons, the mine and buildings that accompanied it. But they are all gone now, with the forest totally overgrowing everything. Still, there are a few relics to see and more to imagine if you learn some of the history before you arrive.
WillhiteWeb.com - Washington Hiking & Climbing
From Black Diamond, take the Green River Gorge Road about 3.5 miles to the historic Green River Gorge Bridge. Currently, parking is an issue for the hike as there are only about 3 parking spaces. You must park on the north shoulder, on the west side of the Green River Gorge Road Bridge. Signs say no parking in front of the "trailhead" gate and all around it. Park at the bridge and walk up the road to the gate. But, be sure to walk out onto the bridge to check out the Green River Gorge.
Distance: 1.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 200 feet
Access: Paved Road
Once through the gate, you are on an easement crossing private land. You should see another gate in the distance with Washington State Parks signs. This private area was known as the Flats. There was a community center and a ballfield where baseball teams from rival mining towns came to play. Once past the second gate, follow the road/trail until you reach the coal cart. The trail forks, but signs say go left for the mine and cemetery. Soon you reach the mine, all fenced up and safe. The trail from the mine becomes a standard trail, that unfortunately, can get brushy if not cut back. The next sight is the foundation of the old powerplant. Then, keep an eye out for a short side trail to the overhead rail lines that span a small gap. After this, keep forging on and you will run into the cemetery. Graves are right along the trail but others are along short spur trails in the brush. The trail ends at the far end of the cemetery where it hits a road. There is a sign at the road saying Franklin Cemetery. This road I believe is in the undeveloped Hanging Gardens State Park. I'm sure there is more hiking down this road but it is leaving the townsite.
Franklin #2 Shaft mined coal down to 500 feet below sea level. The mine shaft is a rectangular hole 10x6x18 and is over 1,300 feet deep. The concrete seal and grate was placed over the shat for public safety by the Washington State Parks and Recreation commission in 1994.
Getting close to the mine shaft
Franklin Coal Cart at the trail split
Gate off of the Green River Gorge Road
Second Gate - State Parks Gate
Sign at the trail split
Overhead rail lines
Overhead rail lines
Franklin Cemetery sign at the road at the end of the trail