One of the most majestic and massive waterfalls that I’ve seen in a long time. It isn’t nearly as tall as Multnomah Falls but this 3-tiered cascade starts with a hidden 50-foot falls, spreads across a 70-foot fan and finally drops 80 feet into a huge rock punchbowl. However, the last part of the waterfall isn’t within view due to the trees and the sheer drop next to the falls. The waterfall is so wide towards the top that you could park a semi from end to end and still not block the falls. The trail starts at about 15 miles north of Carson, WA at a primitive and quiet parking area. The last few miles are on a gravel/dirt road with some potholes. The best part of this hike isn’t just to the waterfall. If you backtrack about 1/2 mile there is another trail that takes you to the top of the falls. This puts you at 2370′ and right on top of the falls. There are several viewing areas at this elevation and the panoramic views are incredible. The forest is also especially beautiful and quiet. There is also another great little creek that flows down just before the main falls that a bridge crosses. I’m pretty sure that it’s a natural spring since the upper trail never crosses this same creek and it doesn’t seem like it forks from Falls Creek. This photo was taken at about 12.22 in the afternoon. I returned to the falls for a second time in order to avoid most of the glare from earlier in the morning. To get this shot I used my 17-77mm lens. I set the focal length at 55mm. I had my warming filter and CIR-PL attached to the lens. I set the ISO at 100 and the F-stop was at 22. I set the Exposure Program to Shutter Priority and set it at 1.2 seconds. I used my tripod in order to avoid camera shake. There is a good chance that you may run in to a black bear, elk or deer since the forest gets pretty thick once you hike above the falls. You may even spot an eagle, osprey, hawk or turkey vulture soaring high above the forest. Since the hike itself is pretty easy and short, you may want to locate some other hiking trails in the area if you want to spend the whole day hiking.
[/caption] Falls Creek Falls is located in Washington State and you will have to plan on driving a bit if your coming from Portland, OR. However, your visit will be bittersweet but also amazing. This is because the waterfall is so huge but hard to view and you will become frustrated just as much as you will be stunned by its size. The best way to ease your frustration is to continue the hike above the falls where you can view the canyon below as well as get another view of the top portion of the falls. The waterfall is 200 feet tall but it’s broken out in several stages and you can’t even see the bottom of the falls or the creek for that matter due to the steep drop off where the trail ends. I mean you would literally fall to your death if you try to look too far over the canyon in order to catch a glimpse of the creek below. In fact, I don’t think you could see it anyways due to the canopy of trees and vegetation that dominate the area. The spray from the waterfall is so intense that you will also need to stand back a bit in order to photograph the waterfall if you want to avoid the spray from drenching your lens. The wind is especially good about pushing the water in your direction since there isn’t any other place for the wind to blow except towards the hikers standing below the falls. To get this shot I stood about 10 feet behind these two massive Douglas Fir trees and centered the waterfall so I could ensure that the field of view would be large enough to avoid any of the photo from being out of focus. You can stand much closer but unfortunately you won’t be able to get the entire waterfall in your viewfinder unless you mount an 8mm lens to your camera. The waterfall is just too massive and there are too many trees, rocks and other vegetation hindering your ability. However, the drive is worth it since the entire drive is scenic and the hiking trail is truly amazing. You can even ride mt. bikes on the same trail and there are additional biking trails near the falls. The trail to the waterfall is pretty short at 3.4 mile round trip and the distance to the upper portion of the falls is 6.3 miles round trip. You’re bound to see a few hawks, osprey and other smaller wildlife along the trail. Plan on packing a cooler full of food and drinks since this hike will take you all day.