|Trail Highlights:||Waterfalls; autumn foliage|
|Round-trip Distance:||3.50 miles / 5.60 km|
|Location:||Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest,
Washington Pass / Methow Valley, Washington North Cascades
Ancestral lands of the Methow
|Required Pass:||Northwest Forest Pass or equivalent for U.S. Forest Service sites|
|Additional Trail Info:||Washington Trails Association
U.S. Forest Service
Northwest Waterfall Survey
One of multiple “Cedar Falls” in Washington along various creeks and rivers of the same name, the North Cascades’ Cedar Falls descends into a deeply delved gorge hidden from sight just off an otherwise unremarkable stretch of the much longer trail that provides access to the distant Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness. The trail climbs gently through brushy woodland of mixed forest with occasional windows opening to glimpses of the surrounding peaks and ridges towering above. Autumn color is abundant throughout the forest under- and middlestory. Although audible along much of the trail, Cedar Creek remains unseen in its close-walled course below. Easily bypassed, the falls’ unmarked viewpoint lies just off the trail and obscured by forest approximately 1.75 miles/2.80 km from the trailhead. Track your distance and, where the creek sounds especially close to the trail, look for a widening or fork to the left of the trail. Exercise great caution while exploring the falls, as mishaps could be disastrous. From its upper tier, the falls drops precipitously into a gorge unseen from the first vantage point. A short bootpath leads left to a cliffside view of the gorge and the falls’ second tier.
Given the trail’s location just off Highway 20 at the upper end of the Methow Valley, sounds of civilization are occasionally heard near the trailhead, but, as the trail wends deeper into the forest, they are replaced by the chattering of creek waters rushing down their steep-walled side valley. Although a popular hiking destination, it is still possible to have the trail and falls to oneself, especially on a less-frequented weekday.