Wallace Falls is one of the most well known waterfalls in the North Cascades. The falls plunge 265 feet into a large amphitheater before regrouping and dropping over additional tiers of 81 and 25 feet (the last one can't be seen from the trail, however). From the main overlook of the falls, the trail continues up above to the top of the falls to a spectacular vista out over the Skykomish River valley and then on to Upper Wallace Falls, and Wallace Lake. The Wallace River drains a respectable area, but because it is largely lowland area and there aren't any Lakes or Glaciers feeding the river, the volume of the river drops substantially in the summer and fall. The falls can be distantly seen from U.S. 2 from around 5 miles away! I suggest coming on a weekday, as the trail is often very crowded on weekends (especially in the summer).
- Wallace Falls is the Official name of this waterfall.
The falls, river and lake were named after Sarah Kwayaylsh, a native of the Skykomish tribe who homesteaded in the area. Obviously the name was slaughtered by white settlers and contorted to fit their best pronunciation.
Drive from Monroe along U.S. 2 to Gold Bar, and turn North at the sign for Wallace Falls State Park. The trailhead is about 2 miles further. The first 1/4 mile of the hike is very boring. Following under a power line clearing, you can hear the popping of the electricity flowing through the wires. Just as the trail enters the woods, the trails split. The left fork follows an old railroad grade to the first viewpoint and Lower Wallace Falls in 2 1/2 miles, and the right fork traverses the woods to the first viewpoint and Lower Wallace Falls in 1 3/4 miles. They both intersect just before the lower falls. The best view is a quick 1/3 mile further up the trail, where on a windy spring day you might even catch the spray from the falls. Continue another 4/10 mile to the vista atop the falls.