They say you shouldn’t go chasing waterfalls, but when you live in Washington and find yourself surrounded by them, it’s a little hard to follow that advice! Especially when they provide ample opportunity for outdoor exploration and a chance to experience our state’s scenic beauty. These cascading natural phenomena can be found throughout our region’s wilderness, including Snohomish County. Here are five mesmerizing waterfalls cascading through Snohomish County.
14503 Wallace Lake Road, Gold Bar
Nestled within Wallace Falls State Park’s 1,380 acres are three distinctive waterfalls known as Upper Wallace Falls, Lower Wallace Falls, and of course, the highlight of the park; the 367-foot Wallace Falls. The mighty waterfall falls in four distinct sections, the largest of which drops 265 feet, hurtling into a large amphitheater and can be seen from the Skykomish Valley and US Highway 2 from around five miles away. Talk about a view!
The falls, river, and lake were all named after Sarah Kwayaylsh, a Native of the Skykomish tribe who homesteaded the area. Obviously, the name was anglicized by Western settlers in their attempt at pronunciation.
Sunset Falls is the largest of three major waterfalls found on the South Fork Skykomish River, the other two being Eagle Falls and Canyon Falls. The falls drop 104 vertical feet over a 275-foot long, powerful sloping granite chute, all while the river rages at 37 miles per hour. Several potholes can be found in the middle of the falls, forming large waterwheels in the bottom half of the falls that can sometimes shoot over 30 feet in the air when the water is high.
Though Sunset Falls does not currently allow the general public access to the falls, several nearby vacation rental properties will enable visitors to access it. Previously a facility on the north side of the river owned and operated by the Department of Fish and Wildlife was used for public access; however, vandalism forced the state to close it. Several groups are negotiating to restore public access to this side of the river.
Ever wondered where the city of Granite Falls got its name? We’ll give you a hint; it has something to do with granite and waterfalls.
Granite Falls was named for its abundance of granite in the gorge where its breathing falls are located, having been named by the Everett & Monte Cristo Railroad upon competition of the railway. Granite Falls is the only major waterfall along the South Fork Stilliguamish River, with a 540-foot-long fish ladder that runs parallel to the river along the falls that serves as the primary viewing platform.
The falls are located about one mile north of the town itself, along the southern reaches of the Mountain Loop Highway. To get there, follow the signs for the highway out of town, and after about a mile, there will be a big sign on the left that says, “Granite Falls Fishway.” A path from there leads down to the falls and the viewing platform so visitors can take in the cascading waters of the small waterfall as it plummets about 40 feet.
Bridal Veil Falls
Mt Index River Road, Gold Bar
The picturesque landscape surrounding Lake Serene and its stunning Bridal Veil Falls will make you feel as if you’ve stepped into a world of magic, fantasy, and wonder. One of the tallest sets of waterfalls in Washington, the falls drop a total of 1,291 feet in seven distinct tiers. In total, the falls run about 2,000 linear feet in length due to these sections, but unfortunately, only about one-third of the falls are readily visible from any one point.
Still, part of the falls can be seen from Highway 2, with those parts being accessible from the Lake Serene Trail with various routes available. The hike is just as serene and scenic as the lake and trail it’s named after, with patches of bunchberry and other shade-loving flowers decorating the dense forest floor.
Asbestos Creek Falls
One of the tallest waterfalls in Washington that can be seen from a road is right here in Snohomish County, known as Asbestos Creek Falls. Essentially, Asbestos Creek flows from the summit of Jumbo Mountain and cascades in a seemingly never-ending series of falls down the mountainside to create this stunning masterpiece of nature. Since there is no apparent beginning to the falls, it’s challenging to determine exactly how tall they are, but it’s been estimated at about 800 feet.
However, the seven lower-most tiers of the falls can be seen from the road, with these tiers appearing to drop a total of about 335 feet. As you continue upstream, the drops continue to get considerably larger, seeming to be four more major tiers hidden in the gorge above. Visits are best recommended through late spring and the early summer, as snow can persist on the mountain’s summit through July. Typically, by the end of August, the basin tends to be primarily parched, reducing the creek volume considerably.
Of course, this is just a short list of many mesmerizing waterfalls cascading through Snohomish County, with even more to be listed within Washington alone. Is there a favorite waterfall of yours in the region that we missed? Send us your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org, and they might appear in our next article about our area’s mesmerizing waterfalls!