Kotsuck Creek meanders through a beautiful sub-alpine valley, speckled with wildflowers, then sheets over a wide bench and thunders into a deep, rugged canyon, which often remains lined with snow in the early summer. Even with low flows, this is one of the best falls in the front country of Mount Rainier National Park. I'm very surprised the Park Service never built a viewing deck for the falls, as they would easily be a tourist draw. When the creek is running high, the falls take on a more characteristically horsetail form, but still retain two distinct segments for about half of the descent. Later on, the falls fracture into three segments at the top, then join together again, just before the bottom of the falls.
- Sydney Falls is the Historical name of this waterfall.
- Known Alternate Names: Kotsuck Creek Falls
This waterfall is more commonly called "Kotsuck Creek Falls". I happened to stumble across this name in a document showing the mileage of various trails in Mount Rainier National Park from 1912, though I am starting to have some slight doubts as to whether this is actually the waterfall it mentioned (mainly because I found another reference that said Sydney Falls was along the Wonderland Trail). The name of Kotsuck Creek is derived from a Chinook Indian word meaning "middle". I have a theory that this name was originally applied to Chinook Creek, since it is the middle stream at the triple junction of Deer, Chinook and Kotsuck Creeks, and the names of Chinook and Kotsuck Creeks got switched at some time in the past.
Located near Cayuse Pass, in Mount Rainier National Park. Drive south of Cayuse Pass, along Highway 123, for 6 1/2 miles, to the signed trailhead for the Owyhigh Lakes (parking on the opposite side of the road). Start down the steep trail, passing Deer Creek Falls in 1/3 of a mile. The trail intersects the East Side Trail shortly before crossing Deer Creek and Chinook Creek then reaches another junction 1/2 a mile from the road. Here, keep straight for another mile to where the trail passes near the top of the falls For full views, go back down the trail to where the falls are first visible through the trees. Make your way down the slope to where a small rivulet drops into the canyon. The viewpoint is pretty obvious, if you are looking for it.