Where water and nature collide

Falls Creek Falls offers levels of exploration

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Driving directions

This waterfall is about an hour away from Camas and Washougal.

Head east on State Route 14 through the Columbia River Gorge and turn left onto Wind River Road to Carson, just past Stevenson. Follow Wind River Road for 15 miles through Carson, into the national forest and past the Carson Fish Hatchery. Stay to the right at the fork in the road to remain on Wind River.

About a mile from the fork in the road, there will be a sign for the Falls Creek Falls. Turn right on gravel road “FS 3206” for two more miles to the parking lot. Make a right onto “FS 057,” following a sign for the Lower Falls Creek Falls Trail.

Falls Creek Falls is a triple decker delight in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest where water and nature collide in spectacular fashion.

Hikers gradually climb 700 feet along this 3.4-mile trail. Within the first mile, there is a suspension bridge across the creek. There are also a few access points to the water while continuing to follow the trail to the falls.

About halfway there, a sign points toward a steep trail that leads to the top of the falls. Stay on the lower falls trail for now and come back to this.

After crossing another bridge, hikers will start to hear the roaring sound of water. If they peek through the trees to the right, they will see the upper section of the falls.

Just a few more steps separate hikers from a massive viewpoint of the second and third tiers of the falls. The water plunges nearly 200 feet into a mossy bowl below. This is a perfect spot to take pictures, eat lunch and rest before heading back down or climbing to the top of the falls.

The steep incline to the top tests hikers in a hurry. Just take your time, and stop to catch your breath after every switch back. Turn to the right at the top and keep climbing for about another half of a mile.

Once the trail levels off, keep an eye out for an access route to the right. It is easy to miss. From here, hikers will be looking down at the upper section of the falls and across to a canyon of peaks covered by trees. It’s a completely different viewpoint and fills you with a sense of accomplishment.