What about Waterfalls?

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Dougan Falls

After some ten days with very bad air quality due to wildfire smoke, I decided to drive north of Carson, Washington, to hike in the Indian Heaven Wilderness.

As I approached the trailhead at the 4,000-foot level, the smoke became denser and denser. It surprised me because there was some blue skies in the Carson area.

Dougan Falls

After taking some photos of a herd of elk, I drove to Stevenson. My memory said there were several waterfalls on the road (mostly dirt) heading north.

Sure enough, after a few miles I reached a nice 50-foot waterfall on Steep Creek (a small tributary of Rock Creek), sliding down a shear cliff to a clear blue pool.

Continuing on the road, I passed over the Rock Creek headwall into the Washougal River Drainage. Soon, I was at 20-foot Dougan Falls. It’s a large, wide Niagara of a falls, and very popular on warm, sunny days.

Not a bad day I said to myself, even if I didn’t get to hike in a wilderness.

Young Bull Roosevelt Elk in the road with a couple of buds

Steep Creek Falls

Small herd of Roosevelt Elk

Dense wildfire smoke at 4000′ (not good hiking conditions)


Categories: Columbia River Gorge HikesTags: , ,


  1. I’m sorry about the smoky air, John. We are struggling with it in No. Calif. too. Some days it’ll be fine, then the wind changes and smoke is back, the fires are not out yet. I appreciate your adventure here in finding breathable air, and sharing the beautiful sights with us. Wonderful to see so many elk, perhaps less people around brought them out? Terrific to see waterfalls, too. I remember just last autumn being in the Oregon wilderness and the waterfalls were so incredibly fresh. I hope you can continue to find fresh pockets and that the fires will be over soon.


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