UPPER RAINBOW FALLS
RATING - 38.0
VR - 8.0 (Big) HR - 4.0 SR - 6/20
TYPE OF APPROACH - Bushwhack
DIFFICULTY - Extremely Difficult
LOCATION - Baker Lake Area
TYPE - Plunge
HEIGHT - 70'
WIDTH - 20'
GPS - N48 47.191 W121 42.312
ELEVATION - 2681'
Rainbow Falls is one of the few named waterfalls around Mt. Baker. A through-the-trees view of the falls can be had from just off the Forest Service road. Unbeknownst to most people, there is another waterfall about 2 miles upstream on the creek. I had seen one set of pictures of the falls before my trip. The pictures were taken from the creek, looking into the face of the falls, which were two side-by-side plunges with some steep boulder cascades above. After two failed attempts, I finally reached the falls on my third trip. I don't know how Pat Buller got to the bottom to get his pictures, but I couldn't find a way. The only clear view I could find was between a couple of branches while perched atop a 100' sheer cliff. From where I was, I could only see one segment to the falls so I'm not sure if the falls have changed since Pat's picture was taken, or if I just couldn't see the second segment from the angle I was at.
Either way, what I saw was one large, very powerful plunging drop of around 70' tall. Above that the creek cascaded amongst some large boulders, making it a little tricky to figure out where the waterfall officially started. Upper Rainbow Falls isn't exactly pretty, but it was extremely powerful and if one was able to get to the base (probably by repelling down the cliff) it would be quite a sight. As is, I highly recommend leaving this one alone. It's almost as tough to view as Rainbow Falls itself, but you have to bushwhack through two miles of thorny hell to get there.
|DIRECTIONS - Follow
the directions to Rainbow Falls. Upper
Rainbow Falls is about 2 miles upstream from here. To get there you
will have to head west to get around a small canyon that empties into
Rainbow Creek at the base of the falls. Once around the canyon, head
upstream above Rainbow Creek atop the glacial moraine. 90% of the trip
from here is pretty easy, but the other 10% will beat you senseless.
There are copious amounts of brush of all kinds just waiting to tear you to
pieces. If you can get through those two stretches of brush and to the
falls, you still have to find a clear view. I'd recommend just leaving
this one alone.
NEARBY WATERFALLS - Rainbow Falls
MORE PICTURES (CLICK TO ENLARGE) AND VIDEO