The wintertime snowshoe journey to see famed 335-foot Falls Creek Falls in Skamania County's Gifford Pinchot National Forest is a must for any waterfall lover.
Unlike the summer/spring/fall hike in on trail 152A, which only extends for 1.7 miles one-way, the winter snowshoe route tacks on an additional 2 miles one-way along non-maintained NF-6032, making for a 7.4 mile total excursion, which requires the stamina needed to finish a 12- to 15-mile hike.
To get started, you'll park along Wind River Road at the intersection of NF-6032 and snowshoe the entire duration of the road, crossing over fallen trees and limbs until you reach the official trailhead 2 miles later. Once on the trail, where the real joy of the hike begins, it is only a short 0.4 miles before you cross over Falls Creek's narrow box gorge on a wooden suspension bridge. From there you'll follow along Falls Creek, mostly under tall stands of old-growth Douglas fir, western hemlock and western red cedar for 1.3 miles until you reach the adventure's main attraction, the stunning 3-tier Falls Creek Falls, with its largest drop (its lowest tier) measuring 135 feet.
If you have the energy, you can return back on 152A for 0.4 miles and then head up trail 152 to gain access to the upper vantage point, which will extend your hike for an additional 1.6 miles round trip.
Note: Due to the countless fallen trees, limbs and debris you will encounter on the road and trail and the undulating nature of trail 152A, cross-country skis are not recommended for this journey.
Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.