Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
1,652.00 ft (503.53 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
6.50 mi (10.46 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Falls Creek Falls trail is a terrific adventure for anyone looking for a short, beautiful hike with a spectacular view waiting at the end. The hike in will take you along a wild section of Falls Creek that winds through some very dramatic terrain. The creek pushes fast through tight little canyons, sending currents to ricochet off of undercut walls dripping with moss, maidenhair ferns and overhanging cedar. As you follow the trail upstream, you’ll eventually leave the younger growth and find yourself wandering through some stately, moss-laden fir and cedar that frame the frantic creek. In late fall, alders and maples contribute their colors to the riparian zones. 

Take it all in, but keep your ears open as well. You will hear these falls thundering long before you see them. Stay on trail 152A to go straight to the falls and enjoy the dramatic 335-foot total plunge the creek makes in three stages. When you are finished, take 152A back to the lower trail junction, head up the hill toward 152, and then proceed upstream on 152. This grade is a little steeper, but after a mile you will see side trails to the right leading to a valley overlook where the falls are also visible. Return on the incoming trail for more views of the creek, but a loop return is also possible if you remain on 152 past the 152A junction for approximately 1.5 miles, continuing across a footbridge and proceeding back to the parking area.

Note: The hike is a simple 3.4 mile out-and-back excursion if you're just hiking to the base of the waterfall and straight back to the parking area.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

NW Forest Pass

Pros

Impressive 335-foot waterfalls. Old-growth. Creekside trail. Great views.

Cons

None.

Trailhead Elevation

1,410.00 ft (429.77 m)

Features

Waterfalls
Big vistas
Old-growth forest

Typically multi-day

No

Suitable for

Biking
Horseback

Location

Field Guide + Map

Nearby Adventures

Mt. Adams/Indian Heaven Wilderness/Goat Rocks, Washington

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Southwest Washington/Mount St. Helens, Washington

Comments

As someone else commented, there's a gate that is 2 miles from the trailhead which is closed between December 1-April 1. Made what would have been a ~4 mile out and back to the falls from the trailhead into an almost 8 mile hike. Would be good to note this gate closure in the actual description of the hike—I missed it in the comments. Besides that, amazing waterfall and congestion was definitely low when I was there on December 8. I'd also say the gate closure shouldn't dissuade you from doing the hike between December-April, just plan accordingly.
06/29/2018
Easy 3.4 mile rountrip hike on a well maintained trail with an absolutely stunning waterfall as your reward. Easily done by your 4 legged friends as well.
05/19/2018
An absolutely gorgeous hike with an exceptionally spectacular reward, especially given the more accessible but crowded waterfalls of the Gorge area. That said, it was definitely busy when I did the hike (starting 8am on a Saturday in mid-May). The dirt road to the trailhead was really bumpy and there's plenty of cars going back and forth, but my Honda Fit did fine. Also, there's a few dispersed camping options along the road, if you're looking to camp nearby for the night and get an early start, which I recommend given the mid-day crowds embarking on the hike as I got back to the parking lot. I found an awesome spot that actually runs along the creek, down a narrow grassy road from a pull-off on the main road to the trailhead. This is probably one of the most gorgeous waterfalls I've ever seen, not to mention the surrounding Gifford-Pinchot NF is really scenic and easily navigable as well.
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