Switchback Falls is a very conspicuous little waterfall found along the DNR road which climbs to the summit of South Bessemer Mountain. The falls are indicated on the Lake Philippa 7.5 inch quadrangle with the standard â€śFallsâ€ť and tick mark notation but are not otherwise recognized and are rarely visited despite easy access. Situated between two sharp switchbacks in the road, the unnamed branch of Big Blowout Creek which the falls occur along slides down a two-step cascade for 43 feet, and then split into two streams which plunge an additional 9 feet immediately adjacent to the road. Because the slope above the final nine-foot plunge is fairly gradual, several small alder trees have taken root between the two sections of the falls, rendering the larger tier partially obscured. The basin feeding the stream above the falls is quite small and it relies heavily on melting snow or precipitation, so there is a decent chance this waterfall could dry out completely by the middle to late summer months.
- Switchback Falls is the Unofficial name of this waterfall.
- Known Alternate Names: Upper Green Mountain Falls
This waterfall has never held a recognized title as far as we know. Greg Plumb listed this waterfall in the appendix of his Waterfall Lover's Guide as Upper Green Mountain Falls, however as it doesn't occur along the same stream as the waterfall we refer to as Green Mountain Falls, weâ€™ve suggested naming it for the tenuous nature of the Bessemer Road where it crosses below and above the falls instead.
Switchback Falls is located on a small parcel of Department of Natural Resources land in the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River valley near North Bend. Exit Interstate 90 at Edgewick Road (Exit 34) and head north past the truck stop for one-quarter mile to SE Middle Fork Road and turn left. Proceed just over 7 miles (the first 2.5 are paved) to a signed and gated road on the left and park. This marks the beginning of the DNRâ€™s Bessemer Road. As of 2012 a Discover Pass is required to legally park here. Begin hiking along the gated road, which climbs gently for the first mile, to where it intersects the CCC Trail. Continue following the obvious road up the hill where all trails and spurs branch off. About a mile and three-quarters from the trailhead is an active quarry, where trucks and heavy equipment may be encountered during the weekdays â€“ stay clear of traffic and out of the quarry area. Continue straight past the quarry, climbing up three sharp switchbacks. At the 2.6 mile mark the road will cross the unnamed stream producing Switchback Falls directly below the falls.