Vortex Falls is essentially a collective of waterfalls found along the East Fork of Big Blowout Creek where several streams come together in the same place. The main fork of the creek stair steps down a narrow trough, joined about halfway down by a much smaller tributary cascading in from the left. About two-thirds of the way down the falls a third, more significant tributary stream enters from the left and veils down the side of the gully, joining the main stream about 20-vertical feet above the bottom of the falls. At the point where the two larger streams merge the creek sheets down a steep bedrock bowl, swirling into a tiny pocket in the rock much like water being flushed down a toilet.
While it is more than likely that the two tributary streams are seasonal, and the smaller of the two will certainly run dry by mid summer, if not both, the main branch of the creek is big enough that it should retain some volume of water throughout the year â€“ though during the late summer months it will without a doubt be just a trickle. Though at a relatively low elevation, the Middle Fork drainage receives a significant amount of snow in the winter, so it may be that the falls are not accessible while flowing at their optimal levels (though when this is will vary from year to year), but from April to June it will appear quite respectable.
- Vortex Falls is the Proposed name of this waterfall.
This waterfall is not known to have been documented before and we know of no names applied to it. Weâ€™ve proposed the name of Vortex Falls for the fact that the three streams all converge at the same point, swishing and swirling down a twisted chute at the base of the falls into a narrow little grotto.
Vortex 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 2.3 mile mark the road approaches the east branch of Big Blowout Creek closely. The base of Vortex Falls is found about 400 feet upstream from this point. Scrambling upstream along the creek will lead to a moss-covered rock ramp at the base of the falls which provides excellent up-close views of the falls from below. Use caution here as the rock can be quite slick.