How does an easy one-mile walk sound? And how about if it’s a boardwalk trail through lovely muskegs and big timber? “Oh,” you say, “throw in some crazy holes in the ground and a waterfall and I’ll do it!”
Wow, do we have the right trail for you!
The Beaver Falls Karst Trail is a great outing, and it even has interpretive signs for your self-guided nature and geology enrichment. The boardwalk itself is wide enough to be accessible, and has pullouts every 300 feet or so. It’s a nice trail.
But let’s get you there first.
Drive north past the Whale Pass cutoff on Forest Road 2000 (the locals call it the 20 road) to milepost 100.5. The large parking lot is on your right. There’s an outhouse and some great signage there, so you’ll know that you’re in the right place.
The trail is at a slightly higher elevation so it might be a few degrees cooler. Bring along an extra layer of clothing just in case.
The first part of the trail goes through a type of Alaskan bog called muskeg.
Depending on the time of year the muskeg may be tan and rust tones, or green with dashes of cheerful pink and white wildflowers. The coniferous trees in the area stay green throughout the year.
There are delightful natural bonsai trees in muskegs. These small, contorted pines are stunted by the acidic soil conditions and it can take them several hundred years to get just three feet tall!
That acidic soil has made the limestone bedrock very interesting. Acidic water seeps down and dissolves the limestone, creating caves, sinkholes, arches, and other karst formations. The trail skirts around some of these impressive formations, and there are railings. I just mention that because the railing made me feel a lot better while peering into an awesome, rugged, vertical, rock sinkhole.
There’s a loop in the trail and an overlook by Beaver Falls. The waterfall varies greatly depending on how much rain there has been. It tumbles down the rocks, makes a turn, and then disappears into a cave!
Whether you are making Beaver Falls a destination or a stop along the way, it is well worth your time. Enjoy!