Photo courtesy of Aden Williamson
Beaver Falls is a 40-foot wide waterfall along Beaver Creek that plunges 48 feet into a basin large enough for swimming. Surrounding the falls is a gaping basalt amphitheater with distinct columns visible. There is ample space on the slippery rocks to traverse behind the falls. Although Beaver Falls rivals popular falls in the Columbia Gorge, you won’t see masses of camera-toting tourists and weekend warrior adventurers. Instead, you may have the area to yourself on a weekday. On fair weekends, though, local youth and families come out in numbers to swim and picnic. But few of the visitors here seem concerned with capturing the perfect selfie.
You can hike to the bottom of the falls by two different routes. The standard approach begins at the main pullout. There is signage for Beaver Falls at the trailhead. The trail is typical for the coastal range; a thick canopy provided by hemlock, fir and alder, and underlying bracken and sword fern. After 0.7 miles the waterfall comes into view at the same time the trail reaches a washed out section. From here you must make an unofficial scramble on loose dirt and rock to the creek bed some 25 feet below. Although many people use this approach, it could result in an injury.
The second approach requires an unprotected creek crossing above the falls, and it should only be attempted when water levels are low. Start about 150 yards above the falls at the small pullout that is big enough for two vehicles. At the gap in the chain link fence, hop the guard rail and follow the trail until the obvious creek crossing just 25 yards from the edge of the falls. If the water is higher than ankle deep, consider turning back to take the standard approach; a slip could result in disaster. After crossing the creek, follow the path to a steep descent left of the creek. At times a rope is tied here to assist hikers.
During your visit to Beaver Falls, take a few extra minutes to see the upper falls as well. Upper Beaver Falls is visible from Beaver Creek Road, 1.6 miles upstream (east) of Beaver Falls. There are two small pullouts at the falls.