High Falls is amaaaaazing! Seriously, this is my favourite waterfall hike near Vancouver far. I think it is because the High Falls Creek trail feels so wild as you need to pull yourself up cliffs with chains, and it just feels like real wilderness. It felt like we went on an epic adventure, even though we were only out for a few hours. This trail does not seem to be well known like the other hikes we’ve been on recently, so we only saw one other hiker and a couple of cyclists the whole time. Anyway the views were spectacular even on a soggy day, so it would be even prettier with a bit of sunshine.
This was the second waterfall adventure of our wedding anniversary. If you’d prefer an easier place to explore, have a look at Crystal Falls in Coquitlam that we did the previous day.
High Falls Creek – the basics
Elevation Gain: 613m
High Point: 664m
Time: 4.5 hours
What to bring:
Water, snacks and your camera!
We brought the 10 essentials.
Facilities: No facilities.
Dogs: I don’t think this one is suitable for dogs, unless you want to carry them up the edge of the canyon.
How hard is it? Intermediate; It’s a bit challenging near the start when you need to climb up the cliffs, but there are chains to help you pull yourself up on the tough parts. The hike is not very long, so if you’re used to the steepness of the coastal mountains, you can do this!
Maps: I’ve included the AllTrails map below, but I couldn’t get it to work when we were in the Squamish Valley. I found looking at the trail on Maps.me worked better.
High Falls Creek Trail Map
High Falls Creek – Getting started
There is a spot to park just beyond the BC Hydro generating station Squamish Valley Road. Once you’ve parked, cross the bridge, and follow the trail right into the forest. The trail is covered in moss and will lead you up to the base of what seems like a giant mossy-carpeted cliff.
The trail is very steep to start with, but super fun! You climb straight up to the first viewpoint where you can see above a few of the trees. Then, just keep heading up! Whenever it seems too steep, there are chains. So you can pull yourself up if it is slippery.
Flowers, Mosses and mushrooms
The trail flattens out a little, but even when the trail is not going straight up. there is a steep drop-off down into an ever-deepening gorge. If you are worried about looking down, you can concentrate on the gorgeous flowers and berries that cover the sides of the canyon. The pretty pink bell-like flowers will become salal berries later in the summer. I also loved the lichen hanging off the trees.
As you get close to High Falls, the trail gets steep again, but it’s exciting because you can hear the roar of the water reverberating in the canyon. I was loving it even before we saw the actual waterfall!
First view of High Falls
This is a wild trail, so there isn’t one spot where you can get an unobstructed view of the waterfall. Instead, you get to play peekaboo with a waterfall as you glimpse it through the trees.
Still when you do catch a glimpse, it is awesome!
There is soooo much water rushing through the canyon! These High Falls are epic!
Squamish Valley from High Falls Creek
After the first waterfall viewpoint there is a second viewpoint looking out to the Squamish Valley and Tantalus range of Mountains. It’s a good spot for a jump shot.
Second High Falls Viewpoint
A little further along the trail there is another viewpoint of the falls. This time you can peer down at the top section of the falls and see all the spray where it is flowing down the cliff. Please be really careful at this point as it was pretty slippery. Keep away from the edge!
Once you’ve had enough of this stunning waterfall you get to continue hiking through the gorgeous forest to more mountain viewpoints.
We got lost once or twice (the paths can be a bit confusing.) So we even found this bonus viewpoint along the way!
I probably have too many photos of trees on this blog, but we found sooo many fantastic trees in this forest! Close to the falls there are plenty of Douglas Fir trees with their deeply cracked bark. High up the trail we found loads of flared cedar trees. The woodland changes character several times, but it is always a pleasure to explore.
Some of the trees near the start were so covered in moss, that I am not even sure what kind of trees they were! Marc also took a photo of a mushroom that looks a bit like a forest shower-head. Cool eh!?
High Falls Creek Loop
Once you have hiked up through the forest, you’ll reach a logging road. From here, you can either return the way you came, or follow the road in a loop back to where you parked. The loop is much longer in terms of distance, but it is MUCH easier than attempting to climb down the steep cliffs of High Falls Creek. This is the highest elevation of the walk, so we were in the clouds and not expecting any views for the return journey.
Views from the logging road
We found (to our delight) that Branch 200 Forest Service Road has some fantastic views of the Squamish Valley. I mean, I loved the view below so much, I’d consider hiking up just for that. On a less cloudy day, you’d be able to see the peaks of the Tantalus range as well as the Squamish River.
This is looking up the the cliffs higher up this mountain we had descended. It looks like it would be a perfect habitat for pikas, but we didn’t see or hear any.
…And here is another view of the Squamish Valley, this time looking South.
We both had sooooo much fun on this mini adventure. We were expecting it to rain all day, but the Squamish Valley is surrounded by mountains, so didn’t quite match the weather report. Instead we got to climb up epic-looking cliffs, see the most amazing waterfall and then look down on countless gorgeous views. This hike is not very famous, but I think it is a great option for hike near Squamish or Vancouver.
If you like the look of it, please feel free to pin it for later. Or, if you want more waterfalls, have a peek at my Oh Canada page – I have a map with lots of other fabulous waterfall options.