Falls Creek Falls

Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Washington, USA

About Falls Creek Falls

Hiking Distance: 3.4 miles round trip
Suggested Time: 90-120 minutes

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

Waterfall Latitude: 45.9102
Waterfall Longitude: -121.91404

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

Falls Creek Falls (also known as the Lower 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 waterfall 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).

Falls_Creek_Falls_022_08222009 - Falls Creek Falls in Washington State
Falls Creek Falls in Washington State

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).

Falls Creek 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.

Falls_Creek_Falls_003_08222009 - Julie walking among the tall trees on the way to Falls Creek Falls
Julie walking among the tall trees on the way to Falls Creek Falls

In terms of photographing the falls, the morning sun was somewhat against us so its upper tiers would frequently wash out on our photos.

I guess better lighting conditions would be either earlier in the morning (when everything would be in shadow) or much later in the afternoon (when the sun wouldn’t be against us).

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.

Falls_Creek_Falls_006_08222009 - The Falls Creek Falls Trail follows Falls Creek up towards the waterfall itself
The Falls Creek Falls Trail follows Falls Creek up towards the waterfall itself

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 the uphill portion on the way to the Falls Creek 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 Falls Creek Falls and Upper Falls Creek Falls).

Falls_Creek_Falls_032_08222009 - Falls Creek Falls starting to come into view, but we needed to get closer to get a cleaner look at it
Falls Creek Falls starting to come into view, but we needed to get closer to get a cleaner look at it

We sensed this because there were signs detouring to those waterfalls, but we didn’t get to do them as we were content enough to see the main falls.


Falls 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.

Falls_Creek_Falls_002_08222009 - Julie starting the 1.7-mile hike to the Lower Falls Creek Falls
Falls_Creek_Falls_004_08222009 - Crossing a bridge spanning the gorge carved out by Falls Creek en route to the Falls Creek Falls
Falls_Creek_Falls_005_08222009 - Julie continuing on the well-forested Falls Creek Falls Trail flanked by attractively tall trees
Falls_Creek_Falls_008_08222009 - Steel footbridge en route to the Falls Creek Falls
Falls_Creek_Falls_033_08222009 - View of the Falls Creek Falls partially in the distance as we approach it
Falls_Creek_Falls_012_08222009 - Finally made it to Falls Creek Falls
Falls_Creek_Falls_020_08222009 - We went a little closer to Falls Creek Falls in order to have this more direct look at it

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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Bottom up sweep right in front of the impressive falls in Southern Washington

Tagged with: gifford pinchot, national forest, skamania, cascade locks, wind river, washington, waterfall, carson

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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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