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

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.

We suspect the watercourse flowing through the natural bridges would only flow in June and July, but 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 last year (2008).

We actually did make an attempt in March earlier in 2009, but bad weather and unplowed snow prevented us from reaching the car park for the waterfall.

A footpath led from the car park towards a pair of wooden railed overlooks. 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 might indicate that this was the real Curly Creek Falls (and not the natural bridge one), but in any case, this particular waterfall was really not much to brag about as you can see from the photos on this page.

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

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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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