For a short hike with beautiful waterfalls, this is hard to beat.
To get there, cross the Hood River Bridge to Washington and take SR-14 west to Carson. Take Highway 30 north. After passing the Carson National Fish Hatchery, turn right on Highway 30 for about 3/4 mile and turn right on Forest Road 3062, proceed approximately 1 1/2 miles to the trailhead at the end of the road.
The trail gradually climbs through the forest for a couple of miles. In spring you’ll see wildflowers, and in the fall, you’ll see beautiful fall leaves and maybe a few edible mushrooms. After you get to the falls, keep hiking to the top, where you’ll find a deep, clear pool suitable for swimming (with your clothes on, of course) and picnicking.
There’s also a Lower Falls Creek trail. According to the Gifford Pinchot NF website, to get there you follow the same directions for Falls Creek Trail #152 Upper Falls Creek Trail EXCEPT after driving approximately 2 miles on forest Road 3062 turn right on Road 057. Continue 1/2 mile to the trailhead.
There’s a suspension bridge involved in the hike, along with a creek crossing, which can be difficult during spring high water.
Elevation Gain: Approximately 800 feet
Trail Length: Approximately 4 miles
Difficulty Rating: 2/5 due to some elevation gain and the chance you’ll get your feet wet.
Approximate open dates: mid-June through mid-October
Hazards: wet feet, incorrect mushroom identification, hypothermia from swimming