Name of Waterfall

Cougar Creek Falls


Cougar Creek Falls is accessed from the Sloan Peak Trail, which begins at the 4-1/2 mile mark of the North Fork Sauk River Road (NFR #49) near the Mountain Loop Highway. The falls are encountered at the 2-mile mark along the trail where it crosses Cougar Creek for the first time.Cougar Creek is a major drainage which spills down the north side of 7835-foot tall Sloan Peak, and provides the most direct access for mountain climbers seeking to summit the mountain. The climbers trail which provides access to the alpine meadows on the flank of the peak allows direct access to this waterfall as it crosses the creek during its mad dash down into the valley below. The falls stand 111-feet tall, beginning as a free-falling plunge that slams into a sloping ledge of hundreds of tiny slabs of rock which cause the water to veil out and cascade down into a scenic blue pool at its base in hundreds of micro-stairsteps. Imagery currently available in Google Earth suggests there may be a second tier to the falls just upstream of the portion visible from the trail, but access to anything in that area would likely require some fairly difficult off-trail traversal.
Though Cougar Creek is located in an area which receives heavy snowfall during the winter, and the north face of Sloan Peak is well shaded to allow the snow to persist well into the summer months, it is not a large drainage and the volume of water present in the creek can be noticeably reduced during the dry summer months. In converse, while the falls will undoubtedly be at their best during the peak of the snow melt season, because accessing the falls requires crossing the North Fork Sauk River without aid of a developed bridge, it may be extra difficult (if not impossible) to visit the falls while it appears most powerful.
To further emphasize the access issues, the trail used to access the falls is indeed a maintained trail, however there is no bridge spanning the North Fork Sauk River, which is quite large. In of October 2013 there were logs in place which allow dry crossings of all four channels of the river, however the river shifts its channels frequently, and the logs wash out almost every year so there is no guarantee there will be a dry crossing available. The North Fork Sauk should under no circumstances be forded on foot without knowing exactly where to cross - the water is swift and there are dozens of logjams in the area which could pin someone swept off their feet - and then ONLY when water levels are at a manageable enough level (anything more than lower thigh-deep and you should not attempt a crossing).

Other Names




IWC Rating (International Waterfall Classification)


Total Height (ft)


Tallest Drop


Number of Drops


Average Width


Average High Volume (Cubic ft per second)

25 cfs (7 months)

Average Low Volume (Cubic ft per second)

3 cfs (5 months)


70 degrees

Run (ft)


Watershed or Feeder Stream

Sauk River Cougar Creek