Walupt Creek Falls had been on my hit list for years, well over a decade in fact. The first hint of its existence I came across was in Greg Plumb's 1983 "Waterfalls of the Pacific Northwest", which surmised at the location of the falls but didn't have any information about its stature. Well, 15 years after I first read that I was presented with only one of three pictures of the falls I'd seen since. It blew me away, and I've had a bone to pick with the canyon since. After a failed attempt at coming up from a dead-end trail that comes within about 1/4 mile of the falls, I made an attempt from the top, and not only was I successful in reaching the falls, but I found it was remarkably easy to get to the base. Now, for those of you done ogling over the attached pictures, I will state with as much emphasis as I can, there is no possible way to convey how absolutely massive this waterfall is without seeing it in person. The falls begin by falling about 10 feet over a vertical ledge of bedrock that turns immediately into a slide that leads into the big ledge that forces the creek to spread out over an immense width. As the water falls, it goes from vertical to less and less vertical in a concave fashion almost with the consistency of a bell-curve, the slide culminating only when the creek merges with the Cispus River. The total vertical drop of the falls is 221 feet, but because of the concave shape, it has a run of over 400 feet. At its maximum breadth I measured it at 267 feet across, and that may still be short by a few yards (hard to get close to the widest part of the falls). Walupt Creek is fed directly by Walupt Lake, and though the drainage is fairly large and the outflow from the lake is fairly consistent, the volume of the creek has been know to be highly erratic in dry years (one of the pictures I'd seen of the falls prior to my visit showed the creek with maybe 1% of the volume shown in my photographs). Low flow or not, there is no question that this is the crown jewel of the south cascades.
- Walupt Creek Falls is the Official name of this waterfall.
There is no trail leading to Walupt Creek Falls, but the route leading to the falls is rather easy to follow. It does involve a modest amount of bushwhacking and a crossing of Walupt Creek is necessary. Good navigation skills are needed and a GPS is recommended. Walupt Creek Falls is located about a mile and a half downstream of Walupt Lake, which is located about 35 miles south of Highway 12 in Randle (via FSR 23 to FSR 21 to FSR 2160, paved the whole way) or about 22 miles south of Highway 12 just west of Packwood (via FSR 21 and FSR 2160, gravel most of the way). The trick to accessing the falls is finding the right place to start. My route of choice started at the Walupt Horse Camp, about 3/4 mile before reaching Walupt Lake. Across from the camp, find an old overgrown road blocked by a row of boulders. About 200 feet down this road, head left into the woods and come to Walupt Creek in about 50 feet. There are several logs to cross on in this area if you don't want to ford the creek (which probably won't be more than thigh deep at the worst). Once across, head about 50 feet into the woods then head left and simply follow the creek downstream. A little under halfway, animal paths start to become obvious along the canyon rim and just after passing Upper Walupt Creek Falls signs of human use become very pronounced. By the time the path reaches the main falls, the trail is easy to follow all the way to the bottom of the falls, a nice campsite and a rocky beach along the river to take in the views. The final descent to the bottom of the falls is quite steep. Total distance from the road via this route is just over a mile. I suspect that the animal / user trail continues upstream all the way to the Walupt Lake Campground.