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Ladder Creek Falls

Ross Lake National Recreation Area

July 4th, 2010

0.4 miles
130 vertical feet
Total Time: 0:43

Starting elevation
438 feet
Max elevation
609 feet

Rating: 6/10

Directions: From Marblemount, drive east along Highway 20 to the town of Newhalem. Just before leaving town (and just after the big train engine parked on the lawn on your right), turn right onto the road before the Gorge Power House, and immediately left into the small gravel parking lot.   View Driving Map

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There was no one else in the small parking lot as we sat in the rain, waiting for it to stop. After a few minutes, it did, and we emerged from the car ready for a short hike.

The Gorge Powerhouse is visible from the parking area, on the other side of the Skagit River. Apparently there's a tunnel that links the Gorge Dam further upstream with the powerhouse. We walked past some interpretive signs and then turned left to cross a suspension bridge over the river. The bridge is just wide enough for about two people side by side.

Flowers near the trailhead

Foxglove near the trailhead

Gorge Powerhouse

Skagit River

Bridge over the Skagit River

We then walked up the hill behind the powerhouse. There's a garden here that is being renovated. Small pools and water features sat devoid of water, and the area is closed at night because the lights are being fixed. Not sure how long this renovation has been going on, or when it will be complete.

Some steps led us up to a small bridge with a closed fence on the other side. From the bridge we could look down at Ladder Creek cascading down past mossy rocks. We then returned to the garden, climbing the stairs up to the highpoint, a viewing area of Ladder Creek Falls. It looks like a trail used to go further up and there's an old bridge just above the falls. However, it looks a bit dangerous to go beyond the fenced-off area, so we turned around and completed our loop through the garden.

Ladder Creek cascade

Mossy rocks above Ladder Creek

Ladder Creek cascade

Ladder Creek Falls

It's a bit of a maze trying to navigate all the little paths of the garden, but it's small. Eventually we made our way to the back of the Gorge Powerhouse and down a narrow alley to complete the circuit. Then we turned right to head back over the footbridge about the Skagit River. We saw other people on our way back, and there were a couple cars in the parking lot, so perhaps it was just the rain that had kept people away.

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