Gushing Coal Creek Waterfall

This week we had a big rain storm that put a lot of water up in the foothills. So much so several rivers had their first flood of the season. The news couldn’t get enough of that plus they had a video of Snoqualmie Falls at high flow. It was the 13th highest ever for that huge waterfall.

I had a revelation that Coal Creek Waterfall would also be a gusher. This is a waterfall within Cougar Mountain Regional Park that is only a half hour from my house to the parking lot. Then it is a 1 1/2 mile hike through the forest.  All so worth it when you see the photos and video.

The roar of her is the first signal you are getting close. Then you round a bend in the trail & BAM!!

There she is as you round the bend in the trail.

Check out the little bridge over the creek in this first picture. Almost everyone I see including myself has to take a photo from the foot of it.  Here is mine.

My photo from the footbridge of Coal Creek Waterfall

How about even closer?

Close up of Coal Creek Waterfall – October 2019

There is something missing. You can’t hear her roaring and gushing down the rock face. I can fix that up for you with these two videos.

This second video gets you right into the action for a close up of our lovely waterfall moment.

Ahhhh.. that was so good to see!!  But now how about a little tour of the area? Give you some perspective of how this waterfall sits in nature.

We will start with the bridge area. It is certainly part of the ambiance. Waterfall plus a creek with a bridge. Holy Moly!!

Coal Creek Bridge by waterfall from creek bank.

From the bridge you can get a good look downstream from the creek. It is lovely too.  It is a dog magnet and many can’t help but to jump in without any encouragement.

View downstream from bridge with trail entrance.

When you turn around from this downstream view you will see the fall in all her glory.

From Bridge looking up at waterfall. We all can’t help ourselves! (that log at the bottom right is the bridge rail)

From this position I took a couple of up close photos. Starting at the top and working down.. here we go!!

Wooded top of waterfall is mossy and very Pacific Northwest.

Moving right along – here is the top falls section.

The biggest section of Coal Creek Falls up close

Then there is this second fall section over a large boulder.

The second falls is just as special as the big one.

See that foamy stuff?  I wasn’t sure if it was foam, mushrooms or ice. I ruled out ice since it was in the upper 50s and no sleet had been reported in the last couple of days. I know of no fungus that looked like that so close to a moving creek. I still wasn’t 100% sure but upon closer inspection it is bubbles. That means the creek is getting pollution upstream.  UGGG…  check out this photo to see what I mean.

Foam forming at Coal Creek Falls. Not a place you want to see a bubble-bath.

Then I hiked up the trail to new adventures. I have three of those to share; fall splendor, moss galore and trees of yesterday.  We are going to start with Fall Splendor:

Golden Trail to adventure

Leaves with dots!!  Yes DOTS

Maple leaves hanging on till the bitter end

The fall sunlight had a special effect on the fall colors. It is was barely noon but it was low in the horizon to the south. It back-lite this tree for a glorious glow.

Glow is a tame word for this sun and leaves interaction

And a bit closer to the glow!

Glow accented by black trunks

Then there is this sun & tree interaction that looks like a magical forest of a science fiction book like Lord of the Rings.

Mystical forest winter sun

The mystical forest shot brings us to moss. There is lots of it here in the forest. First we have a tree close to the waterfall where it gathers so much moisture it almost drips moss.

Moss dripping from little dead tree – see how the sun makes even the moss glow?

Towards the end of my walk I found a spot I had to go off trail. I almost did not go. I started to plunge into the woods and then changed my mind. I had become hurried to get to the car. Then the forest drew me back and I found another mystical forest.

It started with cedar trees surrounded by older vine maple trunks.

The cedars were pasted with this grey green lichen from the dampness here. It overlooked the North Fork of Coal Creek which ran in a gully below.

Tangled up in moss
Sun trying to penetrate the moss alley

The Pacific Northwest was over 100 years ago an old growth evergreen wonderland. This park has it’s share of stumps and downed logs from these giants. It is hard to comprehend their size in a photo but in a couple of the following I have put my walking stick for reference. It is just shy of 4 feet.

First as one approaches the falls here are these two stumps.

Two old growth stumps – one each side of trail

They don’t seem very large do they from that angle?

Lovely old growth stump with walking stick reference.

She is a big one huh? imagine the stick horizontal – this baby must be over 8 feet across. The notches you see are from the loggers foot holds to do their deed.

Then we have this one in the forest.

Is this stump a natural end or was it logged?

I believe she had a natural end because of the “huge” downed logs near by. Again I used my walking stick for reference. Otherwise you would go… it is just more forest litter.

Down log near old stump

Here is another look at this old mammoth log.

Mammoth log buried in the forest

The forest is slowly consuming this old growth baby. Her branches are bigger than a lot of live trees today. What a tree!!

Then to end this tale of adventure here is an old stump that seems to be watching us.

See the stump hiding in the bushes watching?

He seems to have an open mouth, a nose and two eyes. Could he be the spirit of the woods protecting their own? What is really odd is the photo I found that followed this one. It is one of those accident photos or is it?

It’s me!! I am watching the forest so intent not knowing the camera clicked away.



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