Outdoors

Trail of the week: Flaming Geyser State Park

The Flaming Geyser is no longer lit due to the depletion of its methane source.
The Flaming Geyser is no longer lit due to the depletion of its methane source. Staff writer

Flaming Geyser

HIKE DESCRIPTION: Flaming Geyser State Park has a name that sets unsuspecting visitors up for disappointment. For decades, yes, there was a flaming geyser that burned with an intensity somewhere between a votive candle a gas BBQ. The geyser was fueled by a methane pocket discovered by miners in the early 1900s. When they first discovered the methane pocket while drilling a test hole, a more impressive fountain of fire burst forth.

Today, however, the flaming geyser has been extinguished, according to the state parks website. The methane source is depleted.

Fortunately, this 480-acre park has much more to offer. In the summer it’s a popular destination for floating down the Green River. And it’s a good place for hiking any time of the year.

In particular, linking the Ridge and River trails offers a good hike through the woods with views of the river, interesting trees and root formations. Walks can be expended with grassy paths mowed on the perimeters of fields, one of which is open for remote control aircraft use and the other is for equestrian use.

While fallen leaves sometimes make the paths slippery on wet days, the trails still offer some nice fall colors. A short side trip on the River Trail leads to the Bubbling Geyser. This geyser doesn’t flame, either, but it has a gray residue, the result of calcium carbonate created by the reaction of calcium in the water and methane.

DIRECTIONS: From state Route 18, take the Auburn-Black Diamond Road exit then veer right on to Green Valley Road. Continue for 8 miles to Flaming Geyser Road (228th Place) and turn right. Enter the park and then turn right at the intersection and continue to the parking area at the end of the road.

DIFFICULTY RATING: 2 (5 is most difficult, 1 is easiest).

MILES ROUND TRIP: 5 miles.

ELEVATION GAIN: 800 feet.

BEST TIME OF THE YEAR: Year round.

MAP: Green Trails 237: Enumclaw. A map is available on the park website and is displayed at kiosks in the park.

PASS: Discover Pass.

ALSO: Alcohol is not permitted in the park. There is no running water in the park. Visitors are also asked to pack out their own trash. Dogs are permitted in the park and on the trails, but signs warn that leash laws are strictly enforced and violators will be cited. There are several geocaches hidden in the park, including one in the 100-cache series placed in 2013 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Washington State Parks. For more information, visit geocaching.com.

INFO: parks.state.wa.us

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