Depot Creek Falls
Whatcom County, Washington, United States
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This waterfall has been surveyed, mapped and measured in person by the World Waterfall Database.
HISTORY AND NAMES
- Depot Creek Falls is the Unofficial name of this waterfall
Depot Creek was named for the presence of an old trading outpost near its mouth. The falls, to the best of my knowledge, have never been named, even unofficially. I really feel that Depot Creek Falls is too bland of a name for such a grand waterfall, and I would like to apply a more fitting title, so don't be surprised if one day, the name has changed.
Location and directions
Depot Creek Falls is located roughly a mile due north of Mount Redoubt in North Cascades National Park and can only be accessed via a seldom maintained climbers trail which starts near Chilliwack Lake in British Columbia. The access roads leading to the trailhead are extremely rough and require 4wd to pass. To reach the trailead, take Canada Highway 1 to Chilliwack, BC, exit at Vedder Road and turn south. Go 3.3 miles to a blinking light before crossing the Chilliwack River and turn left onto the Chilliwack River Road. Follow Chilliwack Road for 25 miles to where the pavement ends at Chilliwack Lake. At this point the Chilliwack Lake FSR - which can only be described as a pothole breeding ground - takes over and follows the lakeshore. From here on out, 4wd is recommended but 2wd vehicles could make it if going very slow. Drive another 6 1/2 miles, bearing right at the junction at 4 3/4 miles before crossing the twin Paleface Creek bridges, then bear left on an unmarked road (the Depot Creek FSR). Lower clearance vehicles will need to park here, 4wd vehicles can proceed as much as 2 miles further depending on the condition of the road, to where a permanent washout has reverted it to a trail. From here, follow the old road (sometimes with a stream running down it) for 1 3/4 miles (head left and uphill after about a quarter mile) to the US / Canada border. Once in Washington, the Depot Creek Trail takes over. Sign the trail register and then follow the trail - which can be difficult in places - for another 3 1/2 miles to the bottom of the falls. The National Park Service doesn't maintain the Depot Creek Trail more than once every decade, if that, so expect lots of windfallen trees and overgrown brush. When you near the base of the falls, you'll have to ford the Custer Fork of Depot Creek and climb up an 8 foot rock, with aid of a rope, to reach vistas of the falls. The path to the top of the falls heads up the rock to the left of the falls, then punches through the slide growth and climbs up a talus field. Please note, the sign at the trail register at the border states that you're supposed to let customs officials know you plan on re-crossing into the US if you hike this trail.
|Depot Creek Falls is shown in the center. Additional nearby waterfalls (if any) can be found in the list below.|
Additional Nearby Waterfalls
|Name of Waterfall||Distance|
|Depot Valley Falls||0.24 mi / 0.39 km|
|Lake Fork Falls||0.72 mi / 1.15 km|
|Spickard Falls||2.89 mi / 4.63 km|
|Silver Lake Falls||2.93 mi / 4.69 km|
|Bear Lake Falls||2.99 mi / 4.79 km|
|Redoubt Creek Falls||3.55 mi / 5.68 km|
|Unnamed Waterfall||3.85 mi / 6.15 km|
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Depot Creek Falls is a very difficult waterfall to properly photograph from the ground. A wide angle lens is necessary for several compositions and a modest zoom for others. The best overview of the falls can be seen before approaching the Custer Fork of Depot Creek at the base of Depot Creek Falls, looking over the low avalanche scrub a short distance off the trail. The falls face northwest and are best lit later in the afternoon and actually look best in sunlight, but there are some compositions where looking almost right into the sun can't be avoided. Slow shutter studies could work well here, but there is just such an immense volume of water coming down the falls that it doesn't do justice to the power exuded by the creek. Spray is a big issue at many of the viewpoints - especially at the bottom and below the uppermost part of the falls.
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