Walupt Creek Falls

Lewis County, Washington

Detailed Info

Walupt Creek Falls had been on my hit list for years, well over a decade in fact. The first hint of its existence I came across was in Greg Plumb's 1983 "Waterfalls of the Pacific Northwest", which surmised at the location of the falls but didn't have any information about its stature. Well, 15 years after I first read that I was presented with only one of three pictures of the falls I'd seen since. It blew me away, and I've had a bone to pick with the canyon since. After a failed attempt at coming up from a dead-end trail that comes within about 1/4 mile of the falls, I made an attempt from the top, and not only was I successful in reaching the falls, but I found it was remarkably easy to get to the base. Now, for those of you done ogling over the attached pictures, I will state with as much emphasis as I can, there is no possible way to convey how absolutely massive this waterfall is without seeing it in person. The falls begin by falling about 10 feet over a vertical ledge of bedrock that turns immediately into a slide that leads into the big ledge that forces the creek to spread out over an immense width. As the water falls, it goes from vertical to less and less vertical in a concave fashion almost with the consistency of a bell-curve, the slide culminating only when the creek merges with the Cispus River. The total vertical drop of the falls is 221 feet, but because of the concave shape, it has a run of over 400 feet. At its maximum breadth I measured it at 267 feet across, and that may still be short by a few yards (hard to get close to the widest part of the falls). Walupt Creek is fed directly by Walupt Lake, and though the drainage is fairly large and the outflow from the lake is fairly consistent, the volume of the creek has been know to be highly erratic in dry years (one of the pictures I'd seen of the falls prior to my visit showed the creek with maybe 1% of the volume shown in my photographs). Low flow or not, there is no question that this is the crown jewel of the south cascades.

History and Naming

Walupt Creek Falls is the Official name of this waterfall.

Photo Tips

This is a rare waterfall that can be both immensely powerful and flatteringly graceful and photogenic at the same time. The broad veil of the falls creates thousands of little rivulets of water that lend particularly well to slow shutter speeds and the color of the Cispus River at the confluence is very nice. There were two standout problems I could see in shooting the falls. One, there really is no way to do this waterfall justice in photographs - its simply not possible to convey the sheer size of the falls. Two, because of the immense size, the falls are in a very open part of the canyon and it faces north, so while it can receive flattering direct sunlight at certain times of the year, its not always going to cooperate. Spray will be a definite problem from below at high water. At lower flows, its easy to walk up the sliding part of the falls to get right in its face.

Location & Directions

Coordinates:   46.43134, -121.4978
Elevation:   3708 feet
USGS Map:   Walupt Lake 7 1/2"

There is no trail leading to Walupt Creek Falls, but the route leading to the falls is rather easy to follow. It does involve a modest amount of bushwhacking and a crossing of Walupt Creek is necessary. Good navigation skills are needed and a GPS is recommended. Walupt Creek Falls is located about a mile and a half downstream of Walupt Lake, which is located about 35 miles south of Highway 12 in Randle (via FSR 23 to FSR 21 to FSR 2160, paved the whole way) or about 22 miles south of Highway 12 just west of Packwood (via FSR 21 and FSR 2160, gravel most of the way). The trick to accessing the falls is finding the right place to start. My route of choice started at the Walupt Horse Camp, about 3/4 mile before reaching Walupt Lake. Across from the camp, find an old overgrown road blocked by a row of boulders. About 200 feet down this road, head left into the woods and come to Walupt Creek in about 50 feet. There are several logs to cross on in this area if you don't want to ford the creek (which probably won't be more than thigh deep at the worst). Once across, head about 50 feet into the woods then head left and simply follow the creek downstream. A little under halfway, animal paths start to become obvious along the canyon rim and just after passing Upper Walupt Creek Falls signs of human use become very pronounced. By the time the path reaches the main falls, the trail is easy to follow all the way to the bottom of the falls, a nice campsite and a rocky beach along the river to take in the views. The final descent to the bottom of the falls is quite steep. Total distance from the road via this route is just over a mile. I suspect that the animal / user trail continues upstream all the way to the Walupt Lake Campground.

View this location in Google Earth
Walupt Creek 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.

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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



Cataloged Icon
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 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 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
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 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.
Subterranean Icon
Though not common, some waterfalls can be found entirely underground within cave systems. Access to subterranean waterfalls can vary from easy via developed walkways to requiring a high level of extremely technical spelunking skill, including familiarity with ropework and a distinct lack of claustrophobia.
Disqualified Icon
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.
Posted Icon
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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