Falls Creek Falls was one of a handful of impressive waterfalls along the Wind River Road north of Carson and the Columbia River Gorge in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest of Washington State.
Getting to this unimaginatively-named falls involved a little bit of a moderate, mostly gradually uphill 3.4-mile return hike to its viewpoint (see photo at the top of this page). The trail was pretty tame, and since we happened to be hiking on a cool but sunny day, the mostly shaded trail kept us from being real hot and sweaty (and tired).
The falls dropped in a pair of tiers where the wider upper tier was channeled into a plunging lower tier. Its rather unusual shape made this 250ft waterfall pretty memorable to us. We were able to see the top part of the falls before the final descent to the overlook, which gave us a bit of an idea of how big this waterfall really was. In terms of photographing the falls, the sun was somewhat against us so the upper tiers of the falls would frequently wash out on our photos. I guess better lighting conditions would be either earlier in the morning or much later in the afternoon.
Throughout the hike, we noticed a handful of other hikers going in both directions. So we suspect that this waterfall would be a pretty popular weekend excursion for those living not that far away in Portland or other areas in Southern Washington. That said, the Wind River Road would only open during the Summer due to snow so the window of opportunity to see the falls would be limited.
Overall, this hike took us about an hour and 40 minutes. Most of the time spent on the trail was on the way to the falls so we definitely appreciated the all downhill hike on the way back to the trailhead.
Apparently, there were also a couple of other waterfalls on Falls Creek (i.e. Middle and Upper). We sensed this because there were signs detouring to those waterfalls. However, we didn't do them as we were content enough to see the main falls.
To get to Falls Creek Falls, we'll start the driving route from Portland. We then drove 43 miles along the I-84 reaching the town of Cascade Locks. We then crossed the bridge over the Columbia River before continuing east on Hwy 14 as we approached the town of Carson. Next, we drove north along Wind River Road (Road 30) north of Carson for over 9 miles past the Panther Creek Road (Road 65). There was a signed turnoff numbered 3062-057 to the right, where the spur road continued on a 2-mile fairly tame gravel surface.
There was a fork here with the left spur leading to Upper Falls Creek (Trail 152) while the right spur led us to Lower Falls Creek (Trail 152A). We took the Lower Falls Creek spur, which ultimately ended at a car park area with a port-a-potty and a trailhead sign. Overall, this drive took us about 90 minutes to go the 66 miles. It was pretty busy when we showed up as only a few spaces were available when we arrived on in the middle of the morning on a Saturday.
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