Angeline Falls

King County, Washington

Detailed Info

High up in the basin of the West Fork of the Foss River in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, the outlets of three major lakes all spill into secluded Delta Lake, when then produces the aforementioned river from its outlet. Each of these three streams feeding into Delta Lake produces a significant waterfall and this phenomena is largely responsible for the Foss River basin having one of the highest concentration of high-quality waterfalls in Washington State.

Angeline Lake is the central and highest elevation of the three tributary river sources, itself fed by the outflow from Chetwoot and Azure Lakes as well. The outlet of Angeline Lake is subterranean, the surface outlet channel being blocked by a large landslide. The water exiting the lake percolates through the landslide and emerges to the surface about 1,000 feet downstream from the lake. Almost immediately upon returning to the surface, the stream begins cascading steeply down the hillside and quickly reaches cliffs which line the south side of the Delta Lake basin where it spreads out to 80-100 feet in width and pitches nearly vertically, hurtling 424 feet to the talus slopes below as one of Washington State's most impressive waterfalls. At the base of the falls the stream cascades for a short distance before again being absorbed into the rocky slope and receding entirely underground again, only to emerge once and for all 600 vertical feet further down at the south end of Delta Lake.

Angeline Falls is large enough that it is easily visible from many accessible locations throughout the Foss River basin, but most prominently from most of the eastern shore of Delta Lake, as well as from the high-point along the West Fork Foss Lakes trail between Little Heart and Big Heart Lakes as well as from most of the summits in the immediate area. On a clear day with good visibility it may even be visible from Beckler Peak on the north side of Highway 2, over 10 miles away. The falls can be seen in tandem with neighboring Big Heart Falls from halfway down the east shore of Delta Lake to the point where the outlet stream from Otter Lake enters Delta Lake (further along the east shore too, but the trail turns away from Delta Lake at this point).

History and Naming

Angeline Falls is the Colloquial name of this waterfall.

Photo Tips

Because there is no real easy up-close access to this waterfall, it isn't so much a location to shoot artistically - at least where the falls are the focus. Perhaps the best scenic view of the falls is reflected in Delta Lake as seen from the logjam at its outlet. If the goal is to obtain a more tightly framed shot of the falls, a moderate telephoto lens will be needed. The best views of the falls are had about half way around Delta Lake from the outlet. Spray will obviously not be an issue as the falls are over half of a mile away at this point, but haze hanging over the valley, especially in the afternoon can be a concern. The falls face slightly east of due north and will see the sun transit directly over the falls in the afternoon hours. The best light is during the late morning when the sun should illuminate the falls evenly.

Location & Directions

Coordinates:   47.5834, -121.31034
Elevation:   4135 feet
USGS Map:   Big Snow Mountain 7 1/2"

Angeline Falls is found in the Foss River valley off Highway 2 near Skykomish. Take Highway 2 east from Skykomish to the Skykomish Ranger Station, then continue another half-mile and turn right onto the Foss River Road. Follow the road for 4 1/2 miles and turn left where the main road continues straight, following signs for the West Fork Foss Trail, then proceed to its end at the trailhead in another 2 miles. Set out on West Fork Foss Trail #1062, which parallels the Foss River for about three-quarters of a mile to a new bridge spanning the river below some pretty cascades, then climbs for another three quarters of a mile to Trout Lake.

Continue for another half mile past Trout Lake to where the trail intersects the booming stream. A path leads down to the creek, looking upstream at a small cascade. The top of Middle Copper Falls lies immediately downstream. Look for a fairly well trodden boot path which leads steeply downstream along Middle Copper Falls and then Lower Copper Falls to a ford point. During high water the creek can be deep and swift so crossing on a log may be the safer route. On the south side of Copper Creek look for pink flagging leading to the continuation of the trail, which heads up the West Fork to Delta Lake and beyond. The trail which winds in and out of interchanging thickets of brush and groves of forest for another two-thirds of a mile before reaching the base Lower Foss River Falls.

From here it begins climbing steeply up the headwall. After leveling out and navigating around dozens of large mossy boulders, it begins climbing again - this time along side Upper Foss River Falls. The outlet of Delta Lake is reached about 1.3 miles after leaving the West Fork Foss Lakes trail. Cross the river on the logjam and observe Angeline Falls at the far end of the lake. Closer views are had by crossing (wading may be necessary) the second outlet of the lake and traversing clockwise around the east shore of the lake (the trail beyond the outlet of the lake is considerably brushier and in some areas potentially dangerous). Total distance from the trailhead to the best views of the falls via this route is a little over 4 miles.

Angeline Falls can also be seen from the West Fork Foss Lakes trail a little over half a mile before reaching the outlet of Big Heart Lake - this is entirely via a maintained trail but is a longer hike and involves much more elevation gain. Either route involves considerable effort.

View this location in Google Earth
Angeline Falls is marked with the large icon in the center of the map. Up to ten additional waterfalls (if any) may be marked as well, with links below.

Other Nearby Waterfalls

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By The Numbers

The information presented in this table is meant to help identify and clarify the physical aspects of the waterfall for comparative purposes. While we try to ensure this information is as accurate as possible, sometimes it will prove necessary to either estimate or flat out guess at certain characteristics where either enough information isn't readily available, is not known, or we were not able to confirm a given trait upon surveying. This information may be changed at any given time to ensure accuracy.

Total Height

The Total Height listed for the waterfall represents the difference in elevation from the top of the uppermost drop, to the bottom of the lowermost drop of the waterfall, including all stretches of interstitial stream in between. Stream between two tiers of a waterfall is counted in its overall height regardless of whether or not that section of the stream would be legitimately considered a waterfall on its own right, were it to be isolated. Waterfalls with only one drop will of have the height of only the single drop listed here.

Tallest Drop

The Tallest Drop figure represents the height of the largest single drop within a multi-stepped waterfall. Waterfalls with only one drop will have the total height of the waterfall repeated here.

Num of Drops

The Number of Drops in a waterfall is a tally of the total number of distinct drops which make up the waterfall. Stretches of interstitial stream in between two or more distinct drops of a single waterfall are NOT considered to be distinct drops of the waterfall unless the section of stream in question would otherwise qualify as a waterfall were it to be isolated.

Avg Width

The Average Width of the waterfall represents the breadth of the waterfall from bank to bank under typical flow conditions, or if the waterfall has been Cataloged, under the conditions which it was most thoroughly surveyed. Often this number will be approximated because of a lack of approachability to many waterfalls. We often utilize Google Earth to measure the width (where imagery is of sufficient quality and resolution to allow it.

Maximum Width

Maximum Width represents a hypothetical measurement of roughly how wide a waterfall could get during peak streamflow or flood conditions. For smaller waterfalls, this figure will generally not differ much from the Average Width measurement, but for broader waterfalls - especially those that feature a crest that isn't constricted - this figure can at times be consideraby larger. Like the Average Width measurement, this measurement will take into account the difference in width at the top and bottom of the waterfall as much as possible, but will often be made based on the width of the crest of th falls alone.

Pitch

The Pitch of a waterfall is an estimated - often very roughly - measure of the average slope or steepness of a waterfall. The Pitch figure only takes into account sections of stream which are actively falling. Pools or stretches of level stream in between two or more successive drops of the falls will not factor in this figure. As an example, a waterfall which features two truly free-falling leaps separated by several dozen yards of flat stream will have a Pitch of 90 degrees. Similarly, a waterfall with two drops separated by a pool, one with a true free-falling drop, and one with a Horsetail type fall will average the two, so while the Plunging drop has a Pitch of 90 degrees, if the Horsetail drop has a Pitch of 45 degrees, the total Pitch will be roughly 67 degrees.

Run

The Run of a waterfall is a measurement representing the total linear distance on the ground between the top and bottom of a waterfall. This figure is not often easy to establish with a high degree of precision and as such will often be estimated. Waterfalls with a longer Run will usually either be less steep, often cascading type waterfalls, or will feature multiple steps separated by shorter stretches of a more gradual gradient streambed.

Form

The system of classification of waterfall forms we use is a heavily modified derivative of the classifications outlined by Greg Plumb in his "Waterfall Lover's Guide to the Pacific Northwest" books. While plumb uses eight distnct forms, we wanted further granularity and opted to break down the hierarchy twofold: first based on the overall pitch of the waterfall, and then based on what shape the fall takes as it makes its descent. There are five primary Categories of falls in this system: Plunge, Horsetail, Steep Cascades, Shallow Cascades, and Rapids. Additional deliniation is then applied depending on characteristics such as the breadth of the falls, whether it splits into two or more channels, whether it falls in multiple successive drops, etc. For more information on our waterfall form classifications, see the Help page.

Watershed

The watershed which a waterfall occurs within, if it is specified, will be based on the ultimate distributary watercourse to the ocean. For example, Washington's Palouse Falls occurs along the Palouse River - which is a tributary to the Snake River, which is itself a tributary to the Columbia River, which ultimately enters the Pacific Ocean, so Palouse Falls would then fall within the Columbia River watershed. Streams which empty directly into the ocean, or into a minor basin which then empties to the ocean will often have this field left blank.

Stream

The name of the watercourse which the waterfall occurs along. If the watercourse is not known to have an officially or colloquially recognized name, this field is left blank.

Avg Volume

The volume of water present in the stream at the location of the waterfall. This is often the most difficult figure to pin down because accurately measuring streamflow is not a simple process. We will rely on USGS data as much as possible, and attempt to take into account seasonal fluctuations in stream levels if possible. There is no guarantee that this figure will be accurate, and in cases where there is no USGS data to use, it may be a very, very rough estimate at best.

Source

If known, the primary source of the watercourse which produces the waterfall will be listed here. This is helpful in determining whether a waterfall may flow more consistently during certain periods of the year - streams which originate in Springs, Lakes, or Glaciers will often flow more consistently throughout the year than those fueled by simply Runoff. The source of the stream may also be either unknown or undetermined.

Flow Consistency

A rough estimation of how many months out of the year the stream which produces the waterfall will actually hold water. The vast majority of waterfalls featured on this website will technically be truly perennial waterfalls (those that flow all year long), but some may see their flow dwindle greatly in the late summer months. This figure will not take into account the winter months when the waterfall may freeze, because in such cases the waterfall will very often be inaccessible. Entries which specify a Flow Consistncy of 12 Months should in general have an acceptable flow at any time of year (but may be better during certain periods - see below).

Best Flow

A general estimate of the best period of the year during which time the falls will be considered at optimal conditions, or flowing at their best. There may be variance within the range specified where the flow will be better or worse, but visiting at any time in the range specified (if available) will generally present the waterfall in its best light.

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Key

Cataloged Icon
Cataloged
Waterfalls which are Cataloged we have visited and surveyed in person. Statistical information should be quite accurate (for the most part), and exact measurements will often be available (information is not guaranteed to always be up to date). Detailed information, directions, and photographs will almost always be available.
Confirmed Icon
Confirmed
Confirmed Waterfalls are known to exist, should be relatively accurately mapped and geotagged, and the statistical information available will often be dependable. If height information is presented, it may be estimated but should be accurate. Directions will not likely be available.
Unconfirmed Icon
Unconfirmed
Unconfirmed Waterfalls are often marked on a published map, but we have yet to confirm the exact location and / or whether or not its stature is significant enough to qualify for listing in the database. Statistical information may be estimated and may be inaccurate. No directions.
Unknown Icon
Unknown
Waterfalls marked as Unknown are either suspected to exist based on heresay or a hunch, or we have received unverified information suggesting a waterfall may exist near the location provided but cannot corroborate it in any way. Geodata may not be accurate, the location may not be known at all, and statistical information will be estimated and highly inaccurate.
Inundated Icon
Inundated
Inundated Waterfalls have been submerged beneath lakes or reservoirs, usually a result of impoundment of a river behind a dam, and most often no longer functionally exist (there may be rare exceptions). We maintain records for these features out of historical importance.
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Disqualified
Waterfalls which have been marked as Disqualified do not have the necessary stature or features to qualify as a legitimate waterfall according to our criteria. We will maintain records for entries with this status where the feature is well known and / or may have been historically referred to as a waterfall at some point in time.
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Posted
Posted Waterfalls are known to exist, and we may have a large amount of information associated with them, but are located on private property and are not legally accessible to the general public. Accessing waterfalls with this status should not be attempted without first being explicitly granted permission of the property owner.
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