While Wallace Falls is very prominent in the lower Skykomish Valley, being visible several miles away, the May Creek drainage is much more secretive. Headed at over 2500 feet above the valley floor, May Creek starts off in beautiful Lake Isabel. After passing through the logjam at it's outlet, the creek courses through a small, short, narrow gorge for no more than 75 feet, then hurtles itself over a massive wall, veiling towards the valley below. Though it's not obvious at first, Isabel Falls is actually a segmented waterfall. There is a modest hill at the outlet of the lake, which breaks May Creek into two channels, separated by almost 1/5 of a mile, both of which contain waterfalls around 200 feet tall. I have thus far only been able to approach the eastern segment of the falls located next to the trail, but the other half of the falls ought to be reachable in a day. The easily accessed portion of the falls horsetails down a granite slab for about 180 feet, before crashing into a large talus field and cascading another 100 feet down the slopes. Part of the western segment can be seen through the trees about 1/2 mile before reaching the eastern segment.
- Isabel Falls is the Proposed name of this waterfall.
- Known Alternate Names: Lake Isabel Falls
A Waterfall Lovers Guide to the Pacific Northwest cites this waterfall in the appendix as Lake Isabel Falls.
Accessing the falls is an entirely different matter. Let me say first, this is NOT a hike for the inexperienced. You must possess good route-finding skills (despite there being a trail all the way up), map reading skills, and significant stamina in order to make it to the falls. Starting off, head east from Monroe on US 2 to Gold Bar. Continue 2.2 miles passed the signed turn for Wallace Falls State Park to Reiter Road (1/4 mile west of the Big Eddy Bridge). Follow Reiter Road for 8/10 of a mile and turn right at the junction (May Creek Road bends to the left). Still on Reiter Road, keep going another 1.2 miles to a gravel road with a gate on the left. Turn up this road, and proceed 9/10 of a mile, staying left at the major junction just after the power lines. This road is in terrible condition for cars and should only be driven by high clearance vehicles. Park where the road forks. Straight ahead in about 500 feet is May Creek; to the right is a maze of dirt bike paths (the whole area is immensely popular for off-roading and dirt biking). The key is finding the right trail that leads almost straight up the hill, staying away from the creek until it achieves the ridge line. At the top of the hill, the trail becomes a lot more obvious. In approximately 2/3 of a mile, you'll want to turn left at a junction (may or may not be marked) heading downhill towards May Creek. The trail crosses the creek between the tiers of May Creek Falls on a sketchy bridge. Cross and turn right and head uphill, watching for another fork heading to the right just after a 180-degree switchback. Still climbing steeply, the trail intersects an old road at about 1.3 miles. Turn right and follow this road to a second bridge over the creek. Once across the creek, the road turns into a rocky mess. Keep following the road-turned-streambed for another 1/3 of a mile or so to a muddy camp-pit area on the left, where a road forks off into the woods. Follow this road for another 1/3 of a mile to a flagged trail on the left (there are two marked trails here, do NOT take the first one). Once you find the flagged trail, travel becomes easier. Follow this route another 1/3 of a mile to the base of the falls. Lake Isabel can be reached by climbing up next to the falls.