The colorfully named Tom Tom Falls is the first of a trifecta of waterfalls within the gorge of the Little Mashel River as it splashes towards Eatonville. As the river approaches the falls, it passes over the remnants of a small dam - likely left over from an old millsite - before dropping over a small fall of about 3 feet. Following this, the river condenses and explodes out of a narrow crack to fall 25 feet into a pool below. When the river is running high, a second segment forms in a peculiar fashion: part of the river diverts to the left of the main fall at a 90 degree angle, and flows down a series of small stair steps, completely bypassing the vertical cliff, only to join the main river about 50 feet downstream of the falls. This unique occurrence is, unfortunately, almost impossible to photograph, and can only be seen when the river is running at peak flow (or flood stage). During flooding in the last couple years, debris has choked the river at the brink of the falls such that the majority of the volume of the stream now may be flowing down the cascading part of the falls, which may make viewing the falls very difficult without fording the river. The 3rd edition of "A Waterfall Lover's Guide to the Pacific Northwest" erroneously labeled this as Little Mashel Falls - an error that was corrected in the recent 4th edition.
- Tom Tom Falls is the Official name of this waterfall.
- Known Alternate Names: Upper Little Mashel Falls
This waterfall has been called Upper Little Mashel Falls and was confused for Little Mashel Falls itself in the 3rd edition of Waterfall Lovers Guide to the Pacific Northwest, but other sources cite this entry as Tom Tom Falls.
The waterfalls of the Little Mashel River could formerly be accessed from a large pullout along the Eatonville Cutoff Road, however signs have recently been erected indicating this is no longer allowed. We had previously thought this to be on the part of the city of Eatonville, but apparently the land is owned by BNSF Railway and they are concerned over people using the trestle across the river upstream from the falls in order to access the trail system. We have been told that the property owners are vigorously enforcing this posting and WILL tow cars found to be parked there. Instead, these waterfalls must now be accessed from the official entrance to the Pack Forest off of Highway 7. We have not yet attempted to access the trail system via this method, but it looks to be about 3 miles from the entrance to the forest to the Falls Trail trailhead (whether the road can be driven or must be walked or biked, we do not know). From the trailhead, the Falls Trail takes off from here along an old two-track heading off into the grassy fields. After following the trail for about 1/3 of a mile, take the right fork at the first junction, and right at all junctions thereafter. The falls are reached after about Â¾ of a mile of walking. Option 2 is to take a hard right on a trail that drops from the railroad tracks right down to the river, then follow the riverbed downstream to the brink of Tom Tom Falls in about 200 feet. This cuts about Â½ a mile of walking off of the trip, and ads a little more fun, in my opinion, but to reach the base of the falls, climbing down the rocks is necessary, and is not something that should be attempted for parties with children or frail adults (or when the rocks are wet for that matter).