North Fork Sauk Falls #660

This trail has suffered some storm damage and has one section of trail tread that has slid down and section of the stairs no longer has a hand rail.
North Fork Sauk Falls in summertime, photo by Martha Rasmussen

The North Fork Sauk Falls is a must see if you come to Darrington. Many waterfalls have a peak season to see in the spring and early summer. This waterfall has a steady flow and it is always undergoing subtle changes throughout the different seasons. The trail to the falls is 0.2 mile of switchbacks descending 200 feet to the waterfall.  As you get close you see the mist rising from the canyon and hear the thundering as North Fork Sauk river is forced through a narrow rock canyon to make a 60 foot drop.

North Fork Sauk Falls in late springtime during snow-melt, photo by Martha Rasmussen

In late spring and early summer the waterfall is a frothy white with thick mist rising all around it.  Several early season falls can be seen from down stream along the rock walls.  In later Summer the blues and greens of the deep pool below can be seen.  In a cold winter freeze the waterfall is all bedecked in icicles. When taking this trail please keep in mind during the wet or icy season portions of this trail and the wooden steps to the vantage point can be slippery.
Looking down stream of the North Fork Sauk Falls, photo by Martha Rasmussen

There is another waterfall further down stream which is not visible nor accessible from the trail.  Sometimes during heavy spring runoff if you listen you can be able to hear it rumbling off in the distance.
Type of trail: USFS
Length: 0.2
Elevation: 1,400 - 1,500
Level of difficulty: easy, this trail can at times get slippery

Best seasons: All seasons if the road is still accessible in winter

Seasonal interest:
  • Spring & Summer - during snow melt and heavy rains the volume of the waterfall is spectacular!
  • Fall - the waterfall flows less which shows more of the beautiful worn rock & maidenhair ferns.
  • Winter - during a long hard freeze this is one of the best winter waterfalls with the spray forming icicles
General Information:
Wilderness restrictions: No

Restroom: No

Bring drinking water

Road & Trail Conditions

Getting There:  To get to North Fork Sauk Falls Trail from the Darrington Ranger Station, take the Mountain Loop Highway #20 south.  Drive 17.0 miles make a left onto Forest Service Rd. #49, drive up the hill 1 mile. There will be a pullout on the right side of the road.  This trailhead is sometimes not signed.