Description: Upper Falls is an impressive waterfall (though less so than nearby Bridal Veil and Stewart Falls) with a relatively short, steep hike to reach its base. Many more waterfalls fill twin drainages above the falls, but access to them is difficult and dangerous.
Distance: 1/4 mile.
Elevation gain: 400′
Steepness: fairly steep.
Notable Features: a fairly large waterfall surrounded by hundreds of tall cliffs.
Amenities: none. Bathrooms across the river at Upper Falls Park, though the nearest bridge is usually locked.
When to go: Spring through fall, except when avalanches are possible. Check the avalanche report.
Directions: Start up the trail at the cement box structure just off the River Trail a hundred yards or so up-canyon from Bridal Veil Falls. This trail starts up directly across from Upper Falls Park, but that bridge is usually locked. An extremely dicey trail climbs the cliffs to the left (climber’s left) with narrow sections with deadly falls below them. Rock climbing is required for the next section and that only takes you to one more falls. To get above that, serious route finding and climbing skills & equipment are required – in short, if you’re not an expert climber, don’t go this way.
You can also find your way up to climber’s right, and this trail is slightly easier, though you’re surrounded by cliffs and eventually your progress is barred unless you’re an expert climber with all the right gear. Search and Rescue gets called at least once per year to help hikers out of this dangerous drainage.
In summary, most hikers should just enjoy these falls from below.
Mountains, lakes and other features accessed: none.
Connecting & cross trails: none.