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Big Creek Falls Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Big Creek Falls (Steve Hart)
Looking upriver from the Big Creek Viewpoint (Steve Hart)
Mini-mushrooms (Steve Hart)


Hike Description

NOTE: The trailhead parking area and the trail to the Big Creek Falls Viewpoint are closed off. Big trees are down and the viewing platform has been destroyed by a fallen tree. If you can find a pullout, you can still use the trail: just take care near the cliffs.

Big Creek has two very pretty waterfalls in a very short distance. Unfortunately, they are both very difficult to see. This hike does the best it can and offers a complimentary viewpoint in an effort to make up.

Start northward on the Big Creek Falls Trail at the Big Creek Falls Trailhead. You'll quickly enter an area filled with large trees and even larger broken snags. Keep to the right at a couple of unmarked trail forks, pass through two chainsawed paths through the same monster tree and you'll soon reach Big Creek Falls. The viewpoint here is protected by an old cedar fence. At our last visit, the fence looked a little shabby, so be careful here, particularly if you have little ones with you. Big Creek Falls is a simple 125 foot plunge type waterfall and the viewpoint is about level with the falls. The water falls into an amphitheater with impassible cliffs all around. The creek downstream is impassible, as well, so the splash pool is reserved for birds.

Walk back through the log and head right gently downhill. The trail passes several more large cedars and Douglas firs, some upright, some horizontal. It works away down near the top of the ridge. All through this area, you'll hear the sound of cascading water deep in the canyon below. After about a half mile, you'll get a tiny glimpse of Cave Falls. This is a largely unexplored waterfall, for the simple reason that it's impossible to get to. It's rumored to be as much as 500 feet tall and to disappear at one point into a cave. We've only seen the waterfall from the trail and from here, it's a bit disappointing. You'll see a nice crisscross flow resembling Wahkeena Falls a bit, but you'll be able to hear more dramatic things.

It's a short distance from Cave Falls to the end of the trail at the Big Creek Viewpoint. You'll be able to look up the Lewis River Valley and across the valley to rock cliffs all around. Hemlock Creek Falls is visible during the wet season by looking straight west across the Lewis River.

Return the way you came.


Regulations or restrictions, etc

  • Trailhead now closed and blocked off by boulders.

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Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.