Name of Waterfall

Deer Falls


Deer Falls is both the largest waterfall along the North Fork Skykomish River, and perhaps the most infuriating. The falls are found at the head of an impressive 125-foot deep canyon found just a few dozen yards from the National Forest Road 63 which leads to several popular trailheads just over a mile further upstream, yet the canyon and its impressive falls remain hidden in relative obscurity. This wasn't always the case though, the falls were at one time featured in guidebooks and even marked on a select few maps by name. The popular Trips and Trails vol.1 published in the late 60's distinctly featured Deer Falls as a destination, noting that the National Forest Service once actually maintained the trail leading to the vista of the falls. However after the logging road which crossed the river downstream of the falls was decommissioned and its bridge removed, the trail was presumably mothballed and quickly fell into disrepair.
At Deer falls the North Fork hurtles over the lip of the canyon in a narrow stream before impacting on a small ledge, causing the water to explode outward in a huge booming roar, falling 84 feet into a massive amphitheater coated head to toe in moss. Below the falls the river flows through a section of the canyon so narrow that there is no way to pass upstream at river level, thus limiting views from downstream to a considerable distance away.
A word of warning about accessing Deer Falls; though the route in is not very difficult at all, the final descent to where the falls can be viewed is rather steep, so those without sure footing are urged to think twice about attempting to descend to the river to view the falls. Additionally, do not attempt to wade out into the river unless it is running at its absolute lowest levels. The water is glacial, very cold, very swift, and there are multiple potentially deadly features downstream (Lower Deer Falls among them).The name of the falls, while seemingly rather generic, has been in use for quite a long time, and is officially recognized by the forest service and the county, among other institutions. The specific origin of the name is not known, but one can probably make a fairly generic guess.

Other Names




IWC Rating (International Waterfall Classification)


Total Height (ft)


Tallest Drop


Number of Drops


Average Width


Maximum Width


Average High Volume (Cubic ft per second)

500 cfs (7 months)

Average Low Volume (Cubic ft per second)

150 cfs (5 months)


80 degrees

Run (ft)


Watershed or Feeder Stream

Skykomish River North Fork Skykomish River