Name of Waterfall

Colonial Creek Falls


Colonial Creek is, at first glance, a fairly discrete creek emptying into the placid waters of Diablo Lake's Thunder Arm. But looking up its valley from the right places one can glimpse portions of what is thus far the tallest waterfall recorded in the continental United States. As Colonial Creek drains from the lake forming in place of the retreating Colonial Glacier, it slides over the lip of the valley's headwall, plunging and skipping a total of 2,568 feet in 13 distinct steps before reaching the floor of the basin. Because of the height involved with the falls, as well as the fact that there are multiple steps and breaks in the consistency of the gradient, the falls have a considerable overall run (over 4,200 feet) which gives Colonial Creek Falls an average pitch of about 65 degrees. However, many of the distinct tiers of the falls are over 75 degrees in slope, with the uppermost drop starting out as a very steep horsetail, and the final tier of the falls breaking into two distinct segments, each featuring a 300 foot sheer free-fall.
Our initial estimate of the height (2,584 feet) was derived entirely from topographic data. When we surveyed the falls in August 2011, we were only able to get to withing about 3000 feet of the base of the falls. Using triangulation and the coordinates from the position we measured from, we arrived at a revised height of 2,568 feet. There is certainly a margin of error in this measurement, but it not likely to be off by more than 50 feet.
Colonial Creek heads in the Colonial Glacier, which is unfortunately quickly shrinking and being replaced with a small lake. The creek, though not large in volume, is fairly consistent and does flow all year long. The falls, however, heading at over 5500 feet in elevation, often remain half buried in snow well into the spring and early summer due to the elevation, so seeing the falls completely exposed and flowing at peak volume is usually not possible.We've heard from one source the falls are called Hiavaty Falls, but we have yet to hear back as to the origin of this name. It's possible this is a name bestowed by mountain climbers.

Other Names

['Hiavaty Falls']



IWC Rating (International Waterfall Classification)


Total Height (ft)


Number of Drops


Average Width


Average High Volume (Cubic ft per second)

100 cfs (6 months)

Average Low Volume (Cubic ft per second)

40 cfs (6 months)


65 degrees

Run (ft)


Watershed or Feeder Stream

Skagit River Colonial Creek