Spirit Falls Trail
Spirit Falls is a stunning sight. The falls are tucked into the forest off the beaten path, hidden in the moss of the trees until you’re right in front of them. The falls are gorgeous in the warmer months, but they’re especially impressive when they’re surrounded by crystalline white in the winter.
The hike to the falls is about a mile long, but there are different routes there that may differ in length and elevation gain. While the hike is very short, it’s very steep and descends a slick talus slope. This makes the hike unsuitable for kids and demands careful footing from adults. There are also sheer drop offs near the falls, so we recommend keeping a safe distance from the edge.
The paths to the falls cross private property and are subject to closure at the discretion of the landowners.
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Route Description for Spirit Falls Trail
Spirit Falls is gorgeous. Frothy water cascades into a bright turquoise pool in the middle of a moss-clad forest, seemingly hidden from the rest of the world. The falls are reached on a bit of a precarious trail, dropping down a loose talus slope to a viewpoint with a sheer dropoff. For your effort in reaching the falls, they’ll definitely make it worth it.
Spirit Falls Trail crosses private property, as do the patchwork of other trails that all lead to the falls. This makes this hike subject to closure by the landowners. If the trail is closed, do not attempt to hike it. Agreements between the landowners and authorities keep these routes accessible, so obeying posted signage and keeping on the trails is essential.
This path is also in an area subject to wildfires, so the trail may be closed when the wildfire risk is high.
While the hike is short, the descent down the talus slope is not recommended for children. Additionally, if you choose to hike this trail in the winter, take extra care to avoid slipping. Dogs may also struggle to descend the talus slope, but if you bring them, make sure you keep them leashed out of respect for the landowners.
Beginning from the road, you’ll take a path that switchbacks twice before dropping down the talus slope. The path shaves off nearly the entire 154 m of elevation gain in this one section and the footing leaves a bit to be desired. Take your time.
The descent is short, and soon you’ll be looking over Spirit Falls. Marvel at the color of the water and the peacefulness of the forest despite the commotion of the falls. Snap photos, then head back up the hill when you’re ready. What you came down is what you’re going up, so take your time as you climb the talus slope.
Atop the slope, head back to the trailhead the same way you came down.
Hiking Route Highlights
Spirit Falls is on the Little White Salmon River, not far from where the river empties into Drano Lake. The falls are known for their beauty, particularly the perfect shade of aqua seen in the pool. Spirit Falls is not only a hiking destination, but a popular spot for kayakers as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Spirit Falls open to the public?
The falls themselves are always open to the public, but the trails to reach the falls are on private property and are subject to closure at the discretion of the owners.
Can you paddle to Spirit Falls?
The falls are popular with kayakers and can be reached by kayak from upriver. We recommend caution to beginner paddlers around any waterfall.
Insider Hints for Spirit Falls Trail
- This hike isn’t well-marked, so download your GPs ahead of time.
- The trail can get muddy- don’t wear your favorite clothes.
Getting to the Spirit Falls Trail Trailhead
The trailhead for the Spirit Falls Trail is on Cook Underwood Road.
Spirit Falls Trail Elevation Graph
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Spirit Falls Trail Reviews
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