British Columbia, Canada
Crooked Falls is one of the largest waterfalls in the Sea-to-Sky corridor in the southwestern part of British Columbia, but unfortunately as it lives up to its very aptly given name, only a small fraction of the entire falls can be seen and appreciated with any sort of ease. The falls occur along Sigurd Creek as it tumbles into the Squamish River valley near where the Ashlu River joins with the Squamish. The falls make at least three or four distinct nearly vertical steps , separated with sections of less steep cascades. The uppermost of the steep parts of the falls drops about 30-40 meters over broad cliff, veiling outward as it descends. The creek is then funneled to the right at a nearly 90-degree angle and tumbles down another 30 meters worth of cascades. After a linear run of about 60-70 meters, the creek then bends almost 90 degrees back to the left and drops over the largest part of the falls in anywhere from two to five distinct channels that braid out across the cliff face - this portion of the falls is unfortunately not visible from the trail and is heavily obscured by trees when viewed from the road across the valley. Below the large drop, the creek appears to funnel into a narrow gorge and may fall over two or three additional smaller tiers, but how big they may be is not known.
The exact height of Crooked Falls is difficult to determine because the base of the falls is quite thoroughly hidden within the thick forest, but topographic data suggests the entire drop may approach 200-220 meters (650+ feet), with a bare minimum drop of at least 150 meters (500 feet). When surveyed in May of 2018 we were only able to verify the height of the portion of the falls visible from the end of the trail and the cascading run out which leads into the largest part of the falls as about 60 meters (197 feet).
Because of its height and the considerable volume of Sigurd Creek, Crooked Falls had in the recent past been considered for hydroelectric development. In 2008 however the Esté-tiwilh / Sigurd Creek Conservancy was established around the falls and the majority of the Sigurd Creek basin to protect areas held sacred to the Squamish First Nation, thus preserving Crooked Falls in its natural state.
Sigurd Creek is a moderately large drainage which flows north from the heart of the Tantalus Range and enters the Squamish River just downstream of the Ashlu River. The drainage covers an area of approximately 23 square kilometers (about 8.9 square miles), and features several lakes of modest size, as well as three glaciers of small to moderate size on the north flank of Pelion Mountain. The glaciers ensure a moderate to potentially heavy flow of water throughout the late summer months, while the overall larger size of the basin and the very wet climate of the Pacific Coast Mountains will guarantee a heavy flow of water during the wet season and through the spring freshet. The flow can in fact be so strong at times that viewing the falls from the end of the trail may be almost impossible due to the deluge of spray.
History and Naming
Crooked Falls is the Official name of this waterfall.
Has also been known as:
- Sigurd Creek Falls
Location & Directions
Coordinates: Unknown Elevation:
Crooked Falls can be partially viewed up close, and partially viewed from across the valley, but the entire waterfall cannot be seen from any one location (save perhaps the air). Roadside views of the falls can be had through windows between the trees lining the Squamish Valley Road about 20 kilometers north of the Sea-to-Sky Highway in Squamish, approximately 400 meters before reaching the bridge across the Squamish River marking the beginning of the Ashlu Main Forest Service Road. The falls will be difficult to see from across the valley in the afternoon hours.
Close up views of the falls are accessible via the steep Sigurd Creek Trail. From the roadside views listed previously, continue to the bridge over the Squamish River and then turn left onto the Ashlu Main and continue 2.3 kilometers to the trailhead just after the second of two bridges which span the Ashlu River, where the road makes a sharp bend. As of May 2018 the Ashlu Main was gated before the first bridge due to road damage - walk to the trailhead from the gate if or when it remains closed. The Sigurd Creek Trail starts by following an old logging road steeply up the mountain before leveling off after about half of a kilometer. After about 1.3 km, the trail branches to the right and begins climbing steeply away from the old road bed - watch for signs and blazes to mark the route. Over the next kilometer the trail climbs very steeply, at times by going literally straight up the side of the mountain. At the 2.2 km mark, the Crooked Falls Trail branches to the right and descends - again steeply at times - ending on a promontory directly across from the upper section of the falls in about another 300m.
By The Numbers
The information presented in this table is meant to help identify and clarify the physical aspects of the waterfall for comparative purposes. While we try to ensure this information is as accurate as possible, sometimes it will prove necessary to either estimate or flat out guess at certain characteristics where either enough information isn't readily available, is not known, or we were not able to confirm a given trait upon surveying. This information may be changed at any given time to ensure accuracy.
The Total Height listed for the waterfall represents the difference in elevation from the top of the uppermost drop, to the bottom of the lowermost drop of the waterfall, including all stretches of interstitial stream in between. Stream between two tiers of a waterfall is counted in its overall height regardless of whether or not that section of the stream would be legitimately considered a waterfall on its own right, were it to be isolated. Waterfalls with only one drop will of have the height of only the single drop listed here.
The Tallest Drop figure represents the height of the largest single drop within a multi-stepped waterfall. Waterfalls with only one drop will have the total height of the waterfall repeated here.
Num of Drops
The Number of Drops in a waterfall is a tally of the total number of distinct drops which make up the waterfall. Stretches of interstitial stream in between two or more distinct drops of a single waterfall are NOT considered to be distinct drops of the waterfall unless the section of stream in question would otherwise qualify as a waterfall were it to be isolated.
The Average Width of the waterfall represents the breadth of the waterfall from bank to bank under typical flow conditions, or if the waterfall has been Cataloged, under the conditions which it was most thoroughly surveyed. Often this number will be approximated because of a lack of approachability to many waterfalls. We often utilize Google Earth to measure the width (where imagery is of sufficient quality and resolution to allow it.
Maximum Width represents a hypothetical measurement of roughly how wide a waterfall could get during peak streamflow or flood conditions. For smaller waterfalls, this figure will generally not differ much from the Average Width measurement, but for broader waterfalls - especially those that feature a crest that isn't constricted - this figure can at times be consideraby larger. Like the Average Width measurement, this measurement will take into account the difference in width at the top and bottom of the waterfall as much as possible, but will often be made based on the width of the crest of th falls alone.
The Pitch of a waterfall is an estimated - often very roughly - measure of the average slope or steepness of a waterfall. The Pitch figure only takes into account sections of stream which are actively falling. Pools or stretches of level stream in between two or more successive drops of the falls will not factor in this figure. As an example, a waterfall which features two truly free-falling leaps separated by several dozen yards of flat stream will have a Pitch of 90 degrees. Similarly, a waterfall with two drops separated by a pool, one with a true free-falling drop, and one with a Horsetail type fall will average the two, so while the Plunging drop has a Pitch of 90 degrees, if the Horsetail drop has a Pitch of 45 degrees, the total Pitch will be roughly 67 degrees.
The Run of a waterfall is a measurement representing the total linear distance on the ground between the top and bottom of a waterfall. This figure is not often easy to establish with a high degree of precision and as such will often be estimated. Waterfalls with a longer Run will usually either be less steep, often cascading type waterfalls, or will feature multiple steps separated by shorter stretches of a more gradual gradient streambed.
The system of classification of waterfall forms we use is a heavily modified derivative of the classifications outlined by Greg Plumb in his "Waterfall Lover's Guide to the Pacific Northwest" books. While plumb uses eight distnct forms, we wanted further granularity and opted to break down the hierarchy twofold: first based on the overall pitch of the waterfall, and then based on what shape the fall takes as it makes its descent. There are five primary Categories of falls in this system: Plunge, Horsetail, Steep Cascades, Shallow Cascades, and Rapids. Additional deliniation is then applied depending on characteristics such as the breadth of the falls, whether it splits into two or more channels, whether it falls in multiple successive drops, etc. For more information on our waterfall form classifications, see the Help page.
The watershed which a waterfall occurs within, if it is specified, will be based on the ultimate distributary watercourse to the ocean. For example, Washington's Palouse Falls occurs along the Palouse River - which is a tributary to the Snake River, which is itself a tributary to the Columbia River, which ultimately enters the Pacific Ocean, so Palouse Falls would then fall within the Columbia River watershed. Streams which empty directly into the ocean, or into a minor basin which then empties to the ocean will often have this field left blank.
The name of the watercourse which the waterfall occurs along. If the watercourse is not known to have an officially or colloquially recognized name, this field is left blank.
The volume of water present in the stream at the location of the waterfall. This is often the most difficult figure to pin down because accurately measuring streamflow is not a simple process. We will rely on USGS data as much as possible, and attempt to take into account seasonal fluctuations in stream levels if possible. There is no guarantee that this figure will be accurate, and in cases where there is no USGS data to use, it may be a very, very rough estimate at best.
If known, the primary source of the watercourse which produces the waterfall will be listed here. This is helpful in determining whether a waterfall may flow more consistently during certain periods of the year - streams which originate in Springs, Lakes, or Glaciers will often flow more consistently throughout the year than those fueled by simply Runoff. The source of the stream may also be either unknown or undetermined.
A rough estimation of how many months out of the year the stream which produces the waterfall will actually hold water. The vast majority of waterfalls featured on this website will technically be truly perennial waterfalls (those that flow all year long), but some may see their flow dwindle greatly in the late summer months. This figure will not take into account the winter months when the waterfall may freeze, because in such cases the waterfall will very often be inaccessible. Entries which specify a Flow Consistncy of 12 Months should in general have an acceptable flow at any time of year (but may be better during certain periods - see below).
A general estimate of the best period of the year during which time the falls will be considered at optimal conditions, or flowing at their best. There may be variance within the range specified where the flow will be better or worse, but visiting at any time in the range specified (if available) will generally present the waterfall in its best light.Close
CatalogedWaterfalls which are Cataloged we have visited and surveyed in person. Statistical information should be quite accurate (for the most part), and exact measurements will often be available (information is not guaranteed to always be up to date). Detailed information, directions, and photographs will almost always be available.
ConfirmedConfirmed Waterfalls are known to exist, should be relatively accurately mapped and geotagged, and the statistical information available will often be dependable. If height information is presented, it may be estimated but should be accurate. Directions will not likely be available.
UnconfirmedUnconfirmed Waterfalls are often marked on a published map, but we have yet to confirm the exact location and / or whether or not its stature is significant enough to qualify for listing in the database. Statistical information may be estimated and may be inaccurate. No directions.
UnknownWaterfalls marked as Unknown are either suspected to exist based on heresay or a hunch, or we have received unverified information suggesting a waterfall may exist near the location provided but cannot corroborate it in any way. Geodata may not be accurate, the location may not be known at all, and statistical information will be estimated and highly inaccurate.
InundatedInundated Waterfalls have been submerged beneath lakes or reservoirs, usually a result of impoundment of a river behind a dam, and most often no longer functionally exist (there may be rare exceptions). We maintain records for these features out of historical importance.
SubterraneanThough not common, some waterfalls can be found entirely underground within cave systems. Access to subterranean waterfalls can vary from easy via developed walkways to requiring a high level of extremely technical spelunking skill, including familiarity with ropework and a distinct lack of claustrophobia.
DisqualifiedWaterfalls which have been marked as Disqualified do not have the necessary stature or features to qualify as a legitimate waterfall according to our criteria. We will maintain records for entries with this status where the feature is well known and / or may have been historically referred to as a waterfall at some point in time.
PostedPosted Waterfalls are known to exist, and we may have a large amount of information associated with them, but are located on private property and are not legally accessible to the general public. Accessing waterfalls with this status should not be attempted without first being explicitly granted permission of the property owner.