Though neighboring Tin Cup Joe Falls is one of the highlights of the Alpine Lakes region, it over shadows another waterfall which were it located almost anywhere else would be held in much higher regard. Wild Dare Falls is a sliding, multi-tiered horsetail style fall which drops at least 391 feet over the same cliff band which forms Tin Cup Joe Falls, first sheeting down a domed granite face, then pitching nearly vertically into a bridal-veil style drop and finishing steep stair-step style cascade. The unnamed watercourse which produces the falls feeds from a small tarn and basin which drains the north side of Wild Dare Peak. Due to the small drainage size, the falls do run dry during the late summer and autumn months, but are surprisingly significant while snow melt sustains the modest volume of the creek.
When we surveyed the falls on our most recent visit, we were only able to attain a general measurement of the overall height of the falls due to time constraints. Additionally, because of the significant amount of foreshortening levied upon views of the falls from below, our measurement of 391 feet may not represent the entire drop - though we suspect it to be fairly close.
- Wild Dare Falls is the Unofficial name of this waterfall.
Neither this waterfall nor its stream are known to have ever been named. We have proposed calling it after Wild Dare Peak, from which the stream originates.
Exit Interstate 90 at Edgewick Road, east of North Bend, turn north and proceed about one-half mile and turn right onto Dorothy Lake Road (also signed as SE Middle Fork Road) which eventually turns into Middle Fork Road #56. Follow this oft-bumpy and pothole-ridden road for 11 miles to the Middle Fork Trailhead. From here two options are presented. Those with lower clearance vehicles who do not want to risk the legendary water bars along the upper stretch of FSR #56 will want to park at the trailhead here and set out on the Middle Fork Trail, bearing left after crossing the river and hiking east for 4 miles to the Cripple Creek bridge. For a shorter hike, continue along the Middle Fork Road for another mile to the Taylor River, cross and then bear hard right where the main road proceeds straight to the Taylor River Trailhead. The Middle Fork Road then climbs and runs another 6 miles to the Dingford Creek Trailhead at the end of the road. From here, find the Middle Fork Trail heading down hill for 1/3 of a mile to the bridge over the river, and then bear right after the bridge and continue another mile to the Cripple Creek bridge. From the crossing of Cripple Creek an old fisherman's path climbs up the right side (when looking upstream) of the creek and heads toward Derrick Lake. The boot path is not maintained but is generally passable and in many places is very obvious. Recently there have been several huge swaths of blowdowns which have covered 200-300 foot wide sections of the route with fallen trees. If the trail is lost, keep the creek in sight on the left and just work upstream. Shortly before Tin Cup Joe Falls comes into view, about three-quarters of a mile from the Middle Fork Trail, a large log can be seen spanning Cripple Creek and Wild Dare Falls can be glimpsed through the trees opposite. Cross Cripple Creek on the log, which offers a nice view of the bottom tier of Tin Cup Joe Falls, and scramble 10 feet up the steep bank then work up the small tributary stream for another 50 feet to clear views of the falls.