John Pierce Falls is one of three major waterfalls which can be seen in entirety from the North Cascades Highway in the Ross Lake National Recreation Area. The falls swoosh down a chute and veil into the remnant of the original road to Ross Dam before cascading several hundred feet among huge blocks of talus to Diablo Lake below. The falls can be safely viewed from the window of passing cars, but can't really be appreciated without getting close. Trees and fallen boulders are doing their best to reclaim the old roadbed, but accessing the foot of the falls is rather easy - a good adventure for parents to take older kids along on.
- John Pierce Falls is the Official name of this waterfall.
- Known Alternate Names: Horsetail Falls
This waterfall was know as Horsetail Falls until 1972 when the North Cascades Highway was officially opened. At the opening ceremonies then Senator Henry Jackson announced the falls would be renamed to honor John C. Pierce, a Bellingham hotelier and prominent member of the North Cross State Highway Association that lobbied for the construction of the North Cascades Highway.
John Pierce Falls can be found roughly 11 1/2 miles east of Newhalem or 1/2 mile west of the Ross Dam Trailhead along the North Cascades Highway (20) in Ross Lake National Recreation Area. To approach the base of the falls, park next to the cliff on the east side of the bridge then follow the brushy bench along the drainage for 200 feet until you reach the base of the falls.