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Nooksack Falls
   Whatcom County, Washington

[ Physical Makeup ]  [ Pictures ]  [ Maps ]  [ Update History ]

Nooksack Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls in the North Cascades, as well as an essential pit stop on the way to Heather Meadows at the end of Highway 542. The falls plunge 88 feet in two segments. There has been some confusion regarding the height of the falls. Most accounts place the height at 170 feet. I have no idea where this figure initially originated, but it seems to have been propagated by Greg Plumb's "Waterfall Lover's Guide to the Pacific Northwest". I knew this was a gross overestimate several years ago, and shortly after, I found a reference to the falls dropping 105 feet, which seemed much more reasonable, and since it's hard to gauge the height of a waterfall from the top (without a plumb line), I went with it. On a successive visit, I really slapped myself on the side of my head, because right on the kiosk at the parking area, it states the total vertical drop of the falls is 88 feet, clear as day, so that issue can finally be put to rest. The main purpose of the kiosk, however, is to detail both the history of the hydroelectric facility at the falls, and serve as a reminder to the numerous fatalities which have occurred at the falls because of people trying to get better views. Let me state right now, views from the bottom of the falls are NOT possible. Since the 1940s, at least 11 people have been killed here, most likely all were trying to get a better view of the falls. ALL of the fatalities were people between 15 and 30 years old, with the vast majority being teenagers. Please don't do anything stupid to add to this list. Additionally, the book "A Waterfall Lover's Guide to the Pacific Northwest" states that a waterfall is visible on Wells Creek next to Nooksack Falls. There is no waterfall on Wells Creek at this point, as can be plainly seen from the developed viewpoint. The lowest fall of Wells Creek is almost 3 miles upstream, so do not try anything stupid to see if there is a hidden waterfall somewhere.

HISTORY AND NAMING INFORMATION

  • Nooksack Falls is the Official name of this waterfall.

LOCATION AND DIRECTIONS

easy access

Located near Mount Baker, off Highway 542. Heading east from Maple Falls, along Highway 542, proceed 7 miles east of the Glacier Ranger Station, to Wells Creek Road # 33, also signed for Nooksack Falls. Proceed 2/3 of a mile down this road to the parking area on the left, and the short trail leading to the viewpoint on the right. Do not cross the river, or you will pass the falls.

Latitude

48.90529 N

Longitude

-121.80865 W

Elevation

1504 feet

USGS Quadrangle

Bearbaw Mountain 7 1/2"

Online USGS Topographic maps on Terraserver

Aerial Photographs: Terraserver | Flash Earth

Download KML

Open this location in Google Earth

OTHER NEARBY WATERFALLS

Name

Distance

Excelsior Falls

0.76 miles

Lower Wells Creek Falls

1.283 miles

Deadhorse Falls

2.055 miles

Lower Deadhorse Falls

2.064 miles

Middle Wells Creek Falls

2.463 miles

Little Cascade Falls

2.951 miles

Landslide Falls

3.248 miles

Deerhorn Creek Falls

4.554 miles

Mercury Falls

5.059 miles

Thompson Creek Falls

5.428 miles

 

 

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Magnitude

77.55

IWC

3.51  (Class 4)

RATING

65.58 %

 

Photo of Nooksack Falls

[ View Pictures ]

 

PHYSICAL MAKEUP

Height

88 feet

Tallest Drop

88 feet

Num. Drops

1

AVG. Width

50 feet

Pitch

90 degrees

Run

10 feet

Primary Form

Segmented Plunges

 

Watershed

Nooksack River

Stream

North Fork Nooksack River

AVG. Volume

500.0 cfs

Source

Glacier

Seasonality

Best Flows

November to August

 
 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Search for Nooksack Falls on Google

Information on this waterfall at the World Waterfall Database

Search for more pictures at:
Flickr | PBase | Webshots | Smugmug

       
 

UPDATE HISTORY

Jul 26, 2011

Added a picture(s) of this waterfall

 
 
 
 
 

 

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