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 the uppermost is readily visible from trails in the area and receives attention from hikers. Situated just below the bridge along the Loowit Trail, Sheep Canyon Creek gurgles over a 15-foot ledge just below the confluence with a small tributary, then drops over an 88-foot fall which begins as a very narrow spout and upon impacting on a protrusion of bedrock, splashes outward into a broader veil. The falls are viewed from a natural promontory across the canyon, allowing airy vistas both upstream and down (though unfortunately Mount St. Helens itself is hidden from view).
- Upper Sheep Canyon Falls is the Adopted 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 promontory viewpoint overlooking the falls is pretty obvious after a couple hundred feet.