Big Creek

One of the earliest established Pacific Northwest classics, Big Creek is a deep, beautiful, highly aquatic intermediate canyon. It's rated v3a3III at moderate-low water levels, and v3a4III in early to mid-season.


From US-12 in Randle, drive Forest Road 25 south until it turns into SR-90 at the Swift Reservoir. Turn left onto Forest Road 90, crossing the Lewis River at the east end of Swift Reservoir, and drive 9 miles to the Big Creek Trailhead.

Another half mile further is the Speed Trail parking. This is the exit. Leave a car here for a short car shuttle.


Follow the Big Tree trail to the falls overlook. Look for the anchor on the left bank.


There are eight rappels and one jump. Most of the rappels are out of direct flow, and end in deep pools. The final rappel sequence is quite technical.

  • Rappel 1 (Big Creek Falls): 130 feet DCL (Down Canyon Left)
  • Rappel 2 (Corkscrew Falls): 125 feet DCL
  • Jump: 8 feet DCR (Down Canyon Right)
  • Rappel 3: 40 feet DCR
  • Rappel 4: 35 feet DCR
  • Rappel 5: 40 feet DCL
  • Rappel 6: 30 feet DCL
  • Rappel 7 (Cave Falls):
    • 20 feet DCL Traverse Line
    • 50 feet DCL Pitch 1
    • 30 feet DCL Pitch 2

See's Big Creek (South Cascades) web page for up-to-date beta.


After the final rappel, follow the creek to the Lewis River. Find a safe place to ford the river and follow the Lewis River Trail on the other bank for ~0.5 mile. Keep going until you reach a log with the words "Speed Trail" carved into it. Ford the Lewis River again (heading east) to a nice overgrown meadowed bar. The Speed Trail is not obvious here, but cross the bar and head downstream 100 feet to find the trail in the trees on the east side. The trail starts on the north side of a small creek (UTM 10 583697mE 5106153mN, a GPS is handy for finding the correct location).


Standard canyoning gear including replacement webbing and quick links. A hand line is useful.


  • Rappels: 8-9
  • Longest Rappel: 130 feet
  • Approach: ~0.5 mile
  • Exit: ~2 miles
  • Time: 6-8 hours total


  • This canyon is rated v3a3III at moderate-low water levels, and v3a4III in early to mid-season.
    • Difficulty: Intermediate Canyon
    • Land Manager: Gifford Pinchot National Forest
      Mount Adams Ranger District (GPNF)
    • Parking Permit Required: None
    • Recommended Party Size: 8
    • Maximum Party Size: 12
    • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12
    Trip Reports

    There are no resources for this route/place. Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.