The Baker Lake area is spackled with waterfalls, though only a handful are readily accessible. This is only one of two waterfalls on the entire south side of Mt. Baker that are officially named, let alone is easily accessible. Rainbow Falls occurs where Rainbow Creek drops into a narrow gorge at an obscure angle, then thunders into a deep canyon surrounded by tall timber. This combination of geology and forest makes viewing the falls without obstructions a very difficult task.
Recently part of the slope below the road slid out and presumably undermined the stability of the viewpoint for the falls, and in result the Forest Service has removed the signage and viewpoint for the falls entirely. As the falls were no longer clearly visible from this viewpoint, this is no significant loss, but in contrast because the canyon is so dangerous and there is now no obvious way to view the falls it may pose an even greater risk to unwary visitors. There is a difficult but safe route to the bottom of the canyon which allows views of the falls from below, but the route is not at all easy to find and involves traversing above treacherous terrain so it is not recommended that accessing the falls via this route be undertaken.
Rainbow Falls may have been altered a bit during the floods of 2003. The canyon was notably scoured from its previous state, and the upper tier of the falls is more heavily recessed in the slot at the top of the falls, making it almost impossible to see during periods of lower flow.
- Rainbow Falls is the Official name of this waterfall.
To reach the Baker Lake area, proceed east on US 20 from the Burlington / Sedro Woolley area to the signed turn for Baker Lake Road in Birdsview. Follow the Baker Lake Road for 18.5 miles to the Boulder Creek Bridge (spectacular views of Mt. Baker here). Just beyond the bridge, turn left onto Road # 1130. Follow Road 1130 for 4.4 miles, staying right at the first junction and left at the second, then park on the right side of the road shortly before a sharp switchback. The old trail to the viewpoint is still accessible but the falls are no longer signed, so if you don't know exactly where to look it isn't terribly obvious. The former viewpoint for the falls still allows glimpses through the trees, but as there are no clear views it isn't so much worth visiting any longer. The base of the falls can be accessed by traversing northwest above the rim of the canyon from the road, then following a tributary stream down to its confluence with Rainbow Creek at the base of the falls. This route involves considerable bushwacking, climbing down and side-hilling along steep unstable embankments and navigating some extremely slick rocks near the base of Rainbow Falls. There are no discernible markers to use when attempting to hike to the base of the falls, and in light of the treacherous terrain we do not recommend visitation via this route.