Cathedral Falls is a lofty plunging waterfall along an unnamed tributary of Goat Creek in an isolated corner of Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. The falls launch 248 feet over a massive overhang then veils across a strange cone-shaped protrusion of bedrock that forces the water to veil down in a subtle swooshing shape. The formation of the cone at the base of the falls is rather puzzling, as it doesn't appear to be the result of minerals accumulating from the falling water. More likely the falls have simply pounded down onto a much more rugged outcrop of rock that was disconnected from the now overhanging cliffs above, and have slowly worn it into a rounded shape over time. The alcove which gives the falls its very fitting name is actually so tall and deep that there are a couple full sized Western Red Cedar trees growing underneath the overhanging cliff. The drainage area of the stream which forms the falls is not significant in any sense, and in turn the falls will lose much of its power by the end of June - sometimes earlier in the year - but seems to retain at least a trickle of water throughout the year. At the peak of runoff season a considerable volume of water can pour over the cliff, elevating the falls to very impressive stature.
- Cathedral Falls is the Official name of this waterfall.
- Known Alternate Names: Leona Falls
Cathedral Falls gets its name from the massive overhang the falls plunge from. The Goat Creek trail traverses behind the falls via the undercut, which has a massive church cathedral ceiling. The name Leona Falls has also been applied at times, after a Ranger in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, but it doesn't seem to be nearly as commonly used (and whether it has any sort of recognition outside of the GPNF is unclear).
Cathedral Falls is accessed from the Goat Creek Trail south of Riffe Lake. Drive east from Morton along Highway 12 and turn right onto Kosmos Road, signed for Riffe Lake and Taidnapam Park. Turn left very shortly, still following signs for Riffe Lake and then proceed another 4 1/4 miles across the bridge over Riffe Lake. Turn right immediately on the other side of the bridge, follow the gravel logging road for 3/4 mile, and then bear left again onto FR 2750 (which isn't signed). Shortly after turning onto Road 2750 is a sign pointing the way to the Goat Creek Trail, which is reached in another 3 3/4 miles of narrow and winding, but generally good condition road. The trail is unsigned but is obvious where it follows the old roadbed. Cathedral Falls is encountered after an easy mile of hiking.