The two large lakes in the upper Bacon Creek drainage â€“ Green Lake and Berdeen Lake â€“ are situated at high elevations such that their outlets must drop over waterfalls of significant size in order to reach the floor of the valley. While the falls emanating form Green Lake are taller, Bacon Creek itself formally emerges from Berdeen Lake and is a larger stream. After it exits from Lower Berdeen Lake, Bacon Creek makes a sharp left-hand turn and plunges over the complex, multi-stepped Berdeen Falls. The uppermost tier is a narrow but nearly sheer plunge of some 325 feet (though potentially taller and possibly with some smaller tiers just above, though when surveyed from a distance we were not able to see any). At the base of the initial leap, the creek makes a sharp bend back to the right and commences a long sliding series of cascades where the creek drops another 200 feet. The cascades terminate immediately in the second major drop, a broad free-falling plunge of about 275 feet, and this is again followed by a series of steep cascades which drop another 100 feet, bringing the total drop of the falls to around 900 vertical feet.
Bacon Creek at this point in its course is significantly smaller than at its mouth (where it is essentially a river), however the stream is continuously fueled by multiple sources which allow the volume to remain consistent throughout the year. Berdeen Lake, about three-quarters of a mile upstream, is one of the largest alpine lakes in the state of Washington and often remains entirely frozen until August. Additionally, four modest glaciers on the east face of Hagan Mountain provide an ample inflow to the creek when (or if) the winter snowpack melts off. The falls are resoundingly more impressive in the early summer months, but flow well all year.
Due to the rugged terrain and fairly remote location Berdeen Falls is exceptionally difficult to access, let alone observe and this made it quite difficult for us to obtain much of the information needed to provide an accurate survey of the falls. Height figures and dimensional measurements presented in this survey report were obtained via both topographic map data and aerial images available on Google Earth and Bing Maps and should be considered approximate (though well within a reasonable representation of reality).
- Berdeen Falls is the Unofficial name of this waterfall.
Berdeen Falls is located along Bacon Creek about one-quarter mile downstream from the outlet of Lower Berdeen Lake and two-thirds of a mile downstream of the outlet of Berdeen Lake in North Cascades National Park. There are no trails into the area and viewing the falls in any way will require at least two days of difficult cross-country hiking. The falls can be seen from pretty much anywhere on Bacon Peak, as well as from the basin near Bacon Lake, the ridgeline immediately east of Green Lake and the unnamed summit immediately northwest of Green Lake. The base of the falls should be accessible via a roughly five-mile long bushwhack from the Bacon Creek Road, however we anticipate this route to be difficult enough to require two days of travel itself due to the extremely thick brush lining the valley floor, as well as requiring fords of two large streams and possible cliff bands obstructing further progress up the valley. It may additionally be possible to descend a forested gully from Lower Berdeen Lake to the bottom of the upper tier of Berdeen Falls, however the terrain is quite steep and we did not have time to properly investigate the feasibility of such a route.