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Old Robe Canyon Trail


I have many old robes in my closet. I went through a robe phase I think. This was before ever seeing The Big Lebowski, so I definitely didn't have The Dude to abide with. I'm not sure where I was going with this. It was mid November and we wanted a small hike to do because it wasn't too cold out, mid 40's. We didn't want to do anything crazy, something decently short and sweet to scratch that hike itch during the rainier (how can I say the word rainy-er, without it looking or sounding like Ranier) cooler season. 

"WARNING. Robe Canyon Trail. Hike at your own risk. Sections of trail ahead are steep and uneven. Hikers have been injured and killed as a result of accidental falls from the trail and gorge overlooks. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR SAFETY" Now that's one heck of a sign!

 The trail starts from the parking area which is literally just a small pull-off area on the side of the road, Mountain Loop Highway. There's no driving through a forest service road, there's no parking area, you just pull of the road and you're ready to walk into the forest.

Old Robe Canyon Trail
The beginning of the trail with a wide clearing that feeds into some deeper forest


We stumbled upon the Old Robe Canyon Trail which AllTrails has at about 2.5 miles. After reading comments, it appears the trail has been officially truncated. Cut short. A washout on the trail has ceased activity on the trail after roughly 1.1 miles into the trail. Or did it? Many hikers claim they continued on the trail after scrambling and putting in a mild effort to get beyond the washout area. We decided to drive out anyway because the pictures showed some neat scenery. We didn't know if we'd continue beyond the washout or not. 


Old Robe Canyon Trail
The Trail closes in and gets skinnier as you go in

After reading further into it and seeing the official signs at the can actually be cited for continuing beyond the washout area. I'm not sure how often this is patrolled, or who would even be patrolling this for violators, but in the end we decided to simply hike as far as we could until it was "legally" required for us to turn to speak. Does the Snohomish County Parks and Rec department have authority to cite, or do they work in conjunction with police??? Maybe we should test the limits again. In fact, if it's just a citation, then I'd be willing to risk having to pay a fine to see some cool stuff. I'm just paying a fine, not getting hauled to jail, right?? Darn. Now I wish I pushed further.

Robe Canyon Trail
The trail closes in even more. Great autumn shots!


That being said, this was a surprisingly nice hike. It had the beautiful PNW, still stunningly verdant even in the cold season greenery I come to expect at this point. Also, since we're officially in the rainy season and El Nino is taking its hold, the rain has only increased the violent fervor of the Stillaguamish River we side skirted for half of the hike. I definitely see why and HOW washouts have occurred and why the landscape continually changes. I wish I could've measured the cubic feet per second of the river, because it was angry! Pictures don't even do justice. I had to take video as well. 

Old Robe Canyon Trail
Some cute ponding of water with some forest and felled trees


Looking more into it, it seems like the Robe Canyon area is generally volatile like this. In fact, even experienced kayakers consider this area a no go. Whereas some...decide to go for it. Kayakers have died trying to paddle through areas of the Robe Canyon. Pretty wild. Below is a video of crazy dude just going for it....

Weeping Rocks Old Robe Canyon
Weeping Rocks!

The sound of the river, especially at certain points of the hike drowned out any other sounds. I couldn't hear the vocalizations of my GF at some points it was so loud. It's almost like a white noise machine. It's violent churn surprisingly peaceful. 

Raging River - Stillaguamish
The Stillaguamish River in its glory

The trail follows the path of the old Everett and Monte Cristo Railway, giving hikers a glimpse into the region's early 20th-century history. At some points in our hike you can actually see where the old railroad curved through. It's not completely obvious or apparent, but there are signs that a railroad once existed in this space, which is super cool to think about. It's also wild to think how much the land must have eroded and changed since then. 

Old Railroad Old Robe Canyon
You can see where the old rails used to be on this trail!


Those that continue on past the closure will find a cool tunnel and more signs of the railroads history. I definitely want to go back and press my luck now. Just make sure you wear proper hiking gear to battle the ever changing environment. 

Old Robe Canyon Sign
"People have been killed beyond here. The environment is forever changing. Your awareness and decisions can be the difference between life and death" Heavy words, man! I love the bullet holes in the signs. It adds a nice touch.

Waterfall Old Robe
This waterfall is basically right on the trail. You have to walk over its resultant stream to continue. Which you technically can't continue past here, because that's where the sign from above is.

Old Robe Canyon Waterfall Stream
Like I said! Once you cross this little stream, you are 'forbidden' to go any further.

Stillaguamish River
Looking Downstream


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