We first heard about the ghost town of Franklin two years ago from the team at Ghost Towns of Washington. They came on a tour of the Taylor townsite that Julie was guiding for work, and mentioned it as another nearby townsite with a rich history.
So this summer, nearly two years later, we finally got around to researching Franklin and planning a trip. You could say that finding Franklin is what got us addicted to this wild adventure of finding ghost towns and abandoned mines.
The most challenging part of finding Franklin is finding the spot to park.
The roads are all paved county roads, so the Pony, our 2-door Toyota Yaris, handled it just fine. But we missed the spot the first time around. The handy thing is if you cross the Green River Gorge Bridge, you know you've gone too far. So once we crossed it and turned around, we kept a close eye out.
After seeing the trailhead gate, we looked for a place to park. There are lots of no parking signs along the road, so we had to back-track and walk a bit, but since it was a nice day and were planning for a hike anyway, it wasn't a big deal.
The trailhead looks nothing like a trailhead. It's a broken down old chain link gate with several no parking signs.
After walking around this gate, we followed the road through the mown grass field to another gate.
This one was yellow and had king county signs on it. Finally, our first confirmation that we were indeed in the right place. After heading up the road grade, we came to the crossroads, marked by a giant, old coal cart.
At this intersection we headed left.
A short distance up the trail, which was also the old railroad grade, we came upon a massive mine shaft. Fortunately it had been safely sealed.
From the shaft we took a small foot trail to the left. After following it through the woods for a bit, we came upon a big, beautiful foundation just to the right of the trail.
Our best guess, from our research, and judging by the structure, is that this foundation was part of the powerhouse for Franklin.
Shortly after passing the powerhouse we encountered a small elevated rail line. At first we thought this was a coal cart line, but upon closer inspection we realized it was more likely supports for the penstock, or water pipeline, that fed the powerhouse.
Once we explored the area, we continued on the trail further. We had lost cell reception (classic rookie mistake) but we thought the cemetery might still be ahead so we continued on the trail.
Just when we were starting to think we'd seen everything left in Franklin, something peaked out of the bushes.
That's when we knew we had reached it. The cemetery. We expected the cemetery to be well tended, even though it's in a ghost town. We were wrong. The forest is reclaiming the cemetery, just like the rest of the town.
Thank you for reading about our adventure to the ghost town of Franklin. If you choose your own adventure to Franklin, drop us a line. We'd love to hear about it.