I’ve been looking for a hike that was out of the ordinary and just happened to stumble upon the Melmont Ghost Town Trail outside of Carbonado, WA. The trail is partly on county land and partly on school district land as it is a historical site. Carbonado is on the way to Mt. Rainier and is a very small town. Like the kind that stood still in time and if you blink you missed it. So don’t blink because you don’t want to miss this town or Wilkerson for that matter!
We breezed past Carbonado and headed towards the trail. You come upon a single lane bridge that starts out as a wooden bridge, but becomes a steel bridge. It looks like a smaller version of the Deception Pass Bridge. It is quite impressive! There is a small parking area just past the bridge, then you walk back over to get to the trail. You can feel the rumble of the cars as they drive over the bridge. We stopped for a second just to peak over the side of the bridge down to the Carbon river. I’m not afraid of heights, but I have to say that was a very uncomfortable feeling leaning over the side of the bridge. I bet it’s at least 150 feet straight down to the river.
The trail is a wide path, that leads you to an old mining town. Apparently it is a ghost town because most of the buildings are invisible! Actually they were all limestone and wood and have deteriorated so much they are gone or the wood was repurposed for other buildings in town. We were able to find the old dynamite shed, which was made of limestone, as well as the remnants of a pretty large building. All that remains is one wall and part of the side. It’s embedded into the dirt now and covered with moss and ferns and graffiti! Seriously people, lets respect a historical site. There is no place for graffiti!! We found a couple of “prospectors” looking for metal on the old town site, which is now just a big grass field. With their metal detectors they uncovered a fire shovel, pan and some other kitchen looking items. For being pretty out of the way, I was surprised at the number of people we saw along the trail. I’m not exactly sure where the trail goes to as we walked over 4 miles in and the trail is only suppose to be 6 miles roundtrip, but we were not at the end 4 miles in. The trail goes along the carbon river so we decided to take a lunch break there and explore some side trails on the way back. We found some only steel bands and ties, which may have belonged to the train trestle that once went over the river, but no longer exists.
The steel bridge over the river is so precise. When you try to figure out how men built that in the late 1800’s or early 1900’s, you realize just how impressive their building skills were. It is so intricate how all the steel bars lace together to hold up the bridge guides.
After the 8 mile roundtrip hike we headed back towards town and stopped at the Carbonado Saloon. If you ever venture that way, you have to stop here and go into the bathrooms. Checkout the artwork! Hilarious! After the saloon we stopped in Wilkerson, which is only 2 miles down the road and ate lunch at the Pike and Shovel Restaurant. They serve their burgers on metal baking pans. I had a black and blue burger with onion rings. OMG, the best burger ever!!!! Wilkerson is also a very small town, but they are apparently famous for the annual Handcart races, which are the little cars that went on the rail lines. It’s the last weekend in June if you are ever in the area!
So many gems in this great state!