Situated just 3 miles downstream from the crater rim of Mount St. Helens, Sheep Canyon is one of the more geologically interesting locations which was presented as a result of the 1980 eruption. Like all of the watercourses which radiate from Mount St. Helens, the course of Sheep Canyon Creek was scoured down to the bedrock by a lahar, but because the drainage isn't large, it wasn't nearly as big as those which traveled down Pine Creek or the Muddy and Toutle Rivers. Sheep Canyon also just barely escaped the brunt of the eruption as well, with the blast zone border being situated directly across the Toutle River from the mouth of Sheep Canyon Creek. This has created a very scenic dynamic of a well exposed basalt canyon with multiple waterfalls, while remaining relatively forested on either side.
Sheep Canyon is known to possess four significant waterfalls, but only one is readily visible from trails in the area and receives attention from hikers. The second fall lies literally just out of view from the trails passing in the area, but those who are attentive enough may notice the top of this 89-foot horsetail peeking out from the depths of the canyon when taking in views from upstream. Unfortunately there is neither a developed trail leading to views of this waterfall, nor a terribly safe off-trail vista available either, so visitors are advised to stay well back from the crumbly, sloping canyon rim.
- Sheep Canyon Falls is the Unofficial name of this waterfall.
Due to road damage from flooding in 2006, the access to the waterfalls in Sheep Canyon has changed slightly and now involves a longer hike. From Interstate 5 at Woodland, drive east along SR 503 for 27 1/2 miles and turn left onto FSR #81 (Merrill Lake Road) and drive for just under 11 1/2 miles, then keep straight onto Road 8123 - signed for Blue Lake - where Road 81 bears to the right and continue to its end at the Blue Lake trailhead in another 2.7 miles. The Blue Lake trail climbs past its namesake lake and intersects with the Toutle Trail after two miles. Continue north along the Toutle Trail for about 2/3 of a mile further to the intersection with the Loowit Trail. Turn left on the Loowit Trail, then turn left again on the unsigned (and possibly now abandoned) Sheep Canyon Trail. Because the former Sheep Canyon Trailhead is now inaccessible, this stretch of trail is quickly becoming overgrown. The viewpoint for Upper Sheep Canyon Falls will be passed in about 300 feet. Walk another 200-300 feet beyond this point to where the canyon slopes off gradually downstream away from the trail. Descend here and carefully work towards the edge of the canyon well below the Upper Falls and this waterfall should come into view shortly.