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Franklin Ghost Town

Mount Rainier Area


Mount Rainier Area -- Chinook Pass - Hwy 410
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2.5 miles, roundtrip


Gain: 200 ft.
Highest Point: 800 ft.


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Follow a gentle old railroad grade into the coal-mining ghost town of Franklin, along the Green River near Black Diamond. It’s an easy walk up to the coal cart and sealed mine shaft. Follow the narrow footpath beyond to discover the powerhouse foundation and cemetery.

In the 1880’s, fueled by coal mining activity in the area, the town of Franklin was born. Franklin and its associated Oregon Improvement Company mine have a storied past which includes the dubious distinction of having been the site of one of Washington State’s worst mine disasters. On August 24, 1894 thirty-seven miners suffocated due to a fire in the mine that appeared to have been intentionally started. The mine continued to operate for nearly 25 years after the incident, but by 1919 coal mining in the area had all but ceased. With no jobs to sustain them most of Franklin’s residents abandoned the town.

Now nearly 100 years later, some remnants of Franklin’s past can still be found. Your journey to the town site begins by following a gentle, old railroad grade along the Green River near Black Diamond. It’s an easy walk up to a large coal cart bearing the town’s name. Towards the cemetary you can see the mineshaft, now safely sealed with a grate to prevent you from falling over 1,000 feet to the bottom. Follow the narrow footpath beyond to discover the powerhouse foundation, and cemetery.


Franklin Ghost Town

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 47.3011, -121.9524 Open map in new window


Mount Rainier Area -- Chinook Pass - Hwy 410

King County Parks

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Hiking through History Washington (Falcon Guides)

Getting There

From Seattle, drive I-90 to exit 25 for Highway 18. Turn right on Highway 18. Take exit SE 231st Street toward WA-169/Maple Valley. Turn south on SE 231st Street. Turn right onto WA-169 S / Maple Valley - Black Diamond Road SE. Follow for about 6.5 miles. Turn left on Lawson Street. Follow the road as its name changes to Franklin Howard Rd then SE Green River Gorge Road. Parking is $5 on a private field on the right side just before the Green River Gorge Bridge. The trailhead is on the far side of the field with a yellow vehicle gate.

There is no street parking near the trailhead.


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Franklin Ghost Town

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