North of Carson, Washington and about 45 crow-flying miles northeast of Portland is an interesting ecosystem along Falls Creek. Beargrass is seen below 2,000 feet (usually grows above 3,000 feet), tamarack trees are in evidence (much more common on the east side of the Cascades), and wild orchids and lilies are abundant.
On a weekend in late spring we drove to the trailhead on a pleasant shirt-sleeve day. Following the lower trail, we stayed near the creek for 1 3/4 miles until reaching the bottom of Falls Creek 200-foot, three-tiered waterfall.
After enjoying the spectacular views of the waterfall dropping into a punchbowl, we backtracked and took a rough path to the upper trail. Turning right, it was only one mile to a viewpoint over the upper portion of the waterfalls. The views down the Falls Creek Valley were interesting but there wasn’t much to see of the falls. We took a break and ate a snack at a large campsite, enjoying the serenity.
Soon we turned around, followed the upper trail to its end and returned by the lower trail to the trailhead. All in all the hike was 6 1/2 miles in length with 1,150 feet of elevation gain. An enjoyable trek indeed.