Just off of Forest Road 23, do the short jaunt to three small waterfalls near the boundary of the Mount Adams Wilderness. When heading north from Trout Lake, look for an unnamed bend on Road 23, located at the last bend just before reaching the junction with Forest Road 90, and park in the gravel pullout on the left (east) side of the road. There is a faded "Big Spring Creek" road sign here, too.
This is one of the few easily accessible waterfalls on Mount Adams–the rest are mostly unnamed, likely not traveled to, or completely undiscovered.
From the pullout, you will immediately notice the photogenic lower tier of Big Spring Creek Falls–most visitors driving on Road 23 heading for Takhlakh Lake stop to see the lower falls, but miss out on the two upper tiers. The lower tier cascades down in a series of short, graceful leaps, followed by a series of rough, stair-stepped rapids. It is possible that a fourth tier exists beyond here, but if so, it has likely never been discovered or recorded down.
From the lower tier, look for a user trail heading up and along the right side of the creek. Follow the well-worn trail up past the middle tier, where Big Spring Creek crashes over a massive wall of basalt bedrock in a single, short plunge.
Continue on up the trail to the upper tier of Big Spring Creek Falls. The upper tier makes a single leap over exposed basalt bedrock. This falls is somewhat unique in that the creek splits up just before the falls; the left braid of the creek plunges over the exposed rock, and the right braid goes completely around the falls and re-joins the creek just below the falls. In higher water flow, the upper falls will spread out over to the left. In the fall, the left side is reduced to a few small trickles of water.
Note: If coming in from the south via Trout Lake on Forest Road 23, be sure to stop at the signed "Mount Adams Viewpoint." Look for a small sign as Road 23 skirts around Eckhart Point. (It is the only significant viewpoint of Mount Adams along the road between Trout Lake and the junction with FR 2329–the road to Takhlakh Lake and the Midway High Lakes, located about halfway between Trout lake and the junction with Road 90 and Big Spring Creek Falls.) The best time to visit the viewpoint is during fall, when the western larches and quaking aspens turn a radiant gold color in the valley below.
Explore our Appalachian Trail (AT) section hikesMt. Katahdin, Maine
Explore our Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) section hikesJMT/PCT Duck Pass Trailhead to Vermillion Valley, California