Lower South Falls
Today was forecast to be cloudy all day, so we were pleasantly surprised to wake up to hints of sunshine. By 9:00, the sky was mostly overcast, but the sky was bright with high clouds. That meant even lighting, which is perfect for shooting waterfalls in a deep valley. We grabbed some granola bars and our camera gear and drove back to South Falls. But today, we hiked down the Canyon Trail to Lower South Falls.
There are 10 waterfalls along the Canyon Trail. We hiked to six of them the last time we were here in 2018. Today, we added the last missing waterfall in the upper end of the canyon. It was an easy 1.5 mile hike down to Lower South Falls...until we reached the 185 steps that switchbacked down to the base of the falls. As repayment for hiking down the slick steps, the best vantage point to photograph Lower South Falls was midway down the stairs. The waterfall was in its early summer splendor in the midst of towering mountain hemlocks and lush green bushes and wildflowers as an understory. The waterfall is 93 feet tall and 55 feet wide, and it is spectacular.
We hiked behind the waterfall to get to the other side of the river, so we could hike back to the car on the Maple Ridge Trail. We had no interest in climbing all those steps to return on the trail we had come down. The trail out of the canyon was still quite a climb, but we were in no hurry and took breaks as needed. This was the best hike of our trip.
Our only disappointment of the hike was discovering that the South Falls Cafe no longer has soft-serve ice cream. That was the highlight of our trip here last time.
Today was a very good day.