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Photograph Ladder Creek Falls

Marblemount, Washington


Added by Katherine Haveman

This powerful waterfall hidden just behind the Skagit River powerhouse is full of surprises. Not only has it carved itself into a winding canyon that makes it difficult to capture its size and breadth in its entirety, but by arriving at dusk and you’ll be treated to a mesmerizing light show.

While not a hike in of itself, this walk to Ladder Creek Falls is still very enjoyable as you bound over a large suspension bridge, wander past smaller falls and overgrown garden steps, and get an up close and personal look at the oldest operating building in Skagit County, the powerhouse.

Drive past Newhalem heading east on the North Cascades Highway and you’ll see a blue and red bridge leading over the Skagit River to the Powerhouse. Do not enter here, as maintenance vehicles are often coming on and off the bridge, but instead, immediately before, pull into the gravel parking lot to the right facing the powerhouse from across the river. Start walking to the right where you will pass informational signage about the powerhouse and even a sign explaining the history of the light show at Ladder Creek Falls. Cross the suspension bridge and you are immediately greeted with signs pointing you towards the falls. Walk around if you would like, there are restrooms to the left behind the powerhouse and a number of small bridges and stairways that meander up the hill.

To try your luck at getting the perfect shot of the falls however, you’ll start by walking through an overgrown garden trail that is as lush as the falls are strong. Ascend the staircase to get a view of the falls. Ladder Creek Falls is a three tiered waterfall that has carved itself into a small canyon that parallels the staircase, so stop where you can to try and line up the three tiers for your shot. 

Come in the evening and wait for dusk to see LED lights hidden in the canyon light the water in hues of purple, red, and blue. 

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