Curly Creek Falls

Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Washington, USA

About Curly Creek Falls


Hiking Distance: 0.8 miles round trip
Suggested Time: 30 minutes

Date first visited: 2009-08-22
Date last visited: 2009-08-22

Waterfall Latitude: 46.0582
Waterfall Longitude: -121.97245

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Curly Creek Falls was supposed to be the famed waterfall that had the rare distinction of having natural bridges spanning its falling watercourse.

Unfortunately when we were there in late August 2009, the falls was nowhere to be seen (i.e. dry) and the natural bridges were hard to make out due to the harsh mid-day lighting under sunny skies.

Curly_Creek_Falls_003_08222009 - Curly Creek Falls
Curly Creek Falls

We suspect the watercourse flowing through the natural bridges would only flow in June and July.

However, it’s quite possible that the pair of severe winter snowstorms in 2008 and 2009 might have also obstructed the watercourse with debris thereby choking off the falls.

We’re not totally sure though a local we met here said they were flowing the year before our visit in 2009.

We actually did make an attempt in March earlier that year in 2009, but bad weather and unplowed snow prevented us from reaching the parking lot for the waterfall (see directions below).

A footpath led from the car park towards a pair of wooden railed overlooks.

Curly_Creek_Falls_006_08222009 - Closer look at a second waterfall, which might be called Miller Creek Falls
Closer look at a second waterfall, which might be called Miller Creek Falls

The first overlook was of the natural bridge and possible stream.

Continuing further along the trail to its end yielded another wooden railed overlook with a view of a light-flowing waterfall in the distance under the shadow of foliage further across the gorge.

A partial sign (only the word “falls” wasn’t scratched out) at this railing obscured the fact that this waterfall was called Miller Creek Falls.

In any case, this particular waterfall was really not much to brag about as you can see from the photo above.

Perhaps in some future time, we’ll make another go at the Curly Creek Falls and hopefully see it the way that have caused many others to admire and praise it.

Authorities

Curly Creek Falls resides in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest near Carson in Skamania County, Washington. It is administered by the USDA Forest Service. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Curly_Creek_Falls_001_08222009 - Julie checking out the sign at the Curly Creek Falls and Miller Creek Falls trailhead
Curly_Creek_001_jx_03272009 - Earlier in the year, we did try to visit Curly Creek Falls in late March, but we knew something was wrong when we started seeing snow on the banks of the road
Curly_Creek_005_jx_03272009 - Snow blocked further progress on this road and we were still not close enough to walk to the Curly Creek Falls car park so this attempt was a fail

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The Curly Creek Trailhead is located a couple of miles along the unpaved Curly Creek Road 5 miles east of Eagle Cliff (or just under 20 miles east of Cougar) along the Lewis River Road (Route 90).

Once you’re on the unpaved turnoff, the car park is beyond the bridge and a little bit further up the hill where a signpost indicates the car park for this attraction.

For geographical context, this waterfall was 81 miles (about 2 hours drive) northeast of Portland or just 42 miles (under 90 minutes drive) north of Cascade Locks.

Bottom up sweep of the very-hard-to-see falls in low, late Summer flow. Note: this is not the same stream as the one with the natural bridges through them. That one is a couple minutes further up the trail at a lookout platform. That falls was dry when we were there.

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Tagged with: gifford pinchot, national forest, skamania, cascade locks, wind river, washington, waterfall, mt st helens



Visitor Comments:

Northwest Waterfall Survey (Curly Creek Falls) August 25, 2009 4:06 pm by Bryan Swan - Curly Creek Falls appears to have been partially channeled into a sink between the bridge on FR 90 and the falls. It flows well during the spring and early melt season, but by mid summer it dries out completely now - as you suspected this is likely the result of flooding 6-7 years back because… ...Read More

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Visitor Reviews of this Waterfall:

It’s still there, just seasonal (Curly Creek Falls) November 30, 2009 6:19 am by _Anonymous19 - I've seen it in November twice, and it definitely flows during the winter rainy season. Apparently there's a sinkhole (old lava tube) upstream that diverts the entire dry season flow of Curly Creek before it reaches the falls. ...Read More

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About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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