Steelhead Falls is another fabulous waterfall near Mission (about an hour away from Vancouver, Canada) that is great fun to visit on a rainy day. This is a family friendly, fun trail through lush, fern-filled forest. The trail is downhill the whole way to the waterfall; So just make sure you save a little energy for the hike back up! We visited on the same day as the nearby Cascade Falls. This is a bit longer than the trail to Cascade Falls, so they work well as a double waterfall adventure.
*Edit: There is a tree down near the falls in December 2022, check if the trail is open before you visit this one!*
Steelhead Falls map
We went slightly further as we missed the turn-off for parking. See our route here.
Steelhead Falls – The basics
Distance: 2km (plus an extra km if you can’t park at the start)
Cumulative Elevation Gain: 70m
Time: 40 mins- 1hr
What to bring: Nothing special. The 10 Essentials.
Facilities: Loos at the reservoir trail parking lot.
Dogs: Dog friendly
How hard is it? Easy. You lose, then re-gain some elevation, but it is not hard.
Steelhead Falls – Getting started
The main parking area is on Dewdney Trunk Road, 3mins drive (2km) beyond Haywards Lake. If that is full, there is another parking area nearby at that start of the Stave Dam forest interpretation trail. From the carpark, just follow the gravel trail downhill along the Haywood Lake reservoir trail.
How easy is it?
The path is gravel so easy to follow and not too slippery, even on rainy days. There are bridges over Brown Creek, and then Steelhead Creek (so no dodgy creek crossings!) and muddy sections of the trail even have boardwalks with railings. It’s not accessible for people in wheelchairs (due to the steps…) But it is doable for little legs.
Watch out for banana slugs
We loved finding banana slugs along this trail. If you’ve never seen these slugs before, learn more here, as they are really cool; They breathe through their skin, their slime acts as an anesthetic and they are hermaphrodites that gnaw off their slug-lover’s penis after mating!
We also found oodles of salal flowers, so this trail must have plenty of berries in summer.
Steps down to the falls
You will cross a deep ravine near the top of Steelhead Falls. Quite soon after that, you need to turn right (off the main Haywood Reservoir trail.) From there, follow the trail downhill and then hike down the stairs to the various viewpoints for Steelhead Falls.
Steelhead Falls views
The waterfall is really impressive! It has multiple drops reaching down for about 20m, then fanning out with a horsetail at the bottom of the cascades. The photos below are from near the top of the steps, and then from the base. The falls curve around, so you can’t quite see everything from a single viewpoint.
This is the lower part of Steelhead Falls, from half way down. Be careful near the edge, as there are steep drops on the cliffs by the viewing platform.
Then, this is the view from the lowest viewing platform. Fabulous eh!?
Once you are finished, retrace your steps, climbing back uphill through the forest.
Steelhead Falls is a great little adventure for a rainy day. I hope you like the look of this waterfall (and walk) as much as we did! As it does not take long to visit this waterfall, you can pair it with another one (like Cascade Falls or Rolley Falls) on the same day. Or, if you’re looking for other fantastic waterfalls near Vancouver, see the map below!
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