Deer Falls is the largest waterfall of the North Fork Skykomish River as well as by far the most impressive waterfall on either branch of the Skykomish. The falls are situated at the head of an impressive 125 foot deep canyon, which almost nobody seems to know about, despite it's proximity to FR 63. The river courses down a series of small cascades, before collecting in a pool, and hurtling 90 feet into a large, spray-filled gorge, with sheer dark brown walls, laden with mosses and ferns, stretching downstream for almost 1/8 of a mile in an almost perfectly straight line. Apparently, at one time, the Forest Service maintained a trail leading to a viewpoint of the falls. Unfortunately, this trail seems to have been totally destroyed when the valley was logged in the 70s. It's a shame really, because this is a location which I'm sure many would love to visit. On top of that fact, the fleeting views of the falls which are available from the north rim of the canyon somewhat obscure the falls. From the viewpoint I found, the upper 20 to 25 feet of the falls were completely blocked by trees. If a vantage from the opposite side of the gorge were attainable, the entire falls should be visible.
- Deer Falls is the Official name of this waterfall.
The name of the falls, while seemingly rather generic, has been in use for quite a long time, and is officially recognized by the forest service and the county, among other institutions. The origin of the name is not known (but I would wager it was because Deer were commonly sighted in the area).
Although the falls are only about 300 feet away from a well maintained road, this is not a waterfall for the weekend warrior. The only vantages I was able to attain was by perching atop a sheer 125 foot cliff, and holding onto a tree, which was leaning out over nothing but air. Quite possibly, the most nerve wracking thing I've ever done to get a picture. If this sounds like your kind of place, read on. Turn off of Highway 2 at Index, and follow the Index-Galena Road for 14 3/4 miles to a three way junction at the end of the pavement. Turn left, and continue on FR 63 for another 3 1/4 miles, to mile marker 18, and park. Deer Falls is located in the gorge below the road at this point. You should be able to hear it. From here, you're on your own. The gorge rim is only about 200 to 300 feet away, but it's a good 100 feet or more below the road. Be careful at the edge, the slopes can be crumbly.