Covell Creek

An early season canyon along the Cispus River. Both the West Fork and Main Fork can make for a fun day while other creeks are running high.

Getting There

From SR-12 in Randle, turn south on SR-131. In 1 mile, turn left onto Cispus Road (Forest Road 23) and drive ~10 miles, following signs for the Cispus Learning Center. Cross the Cispus River on Cispus Road, and bear right at the fork to stay on Cispus Road. At the next intersection, continue straight onto Forest Road 28. Park at the second pullout for the Burley Mountain Trail to Angel Falls.

Approach

Both Forks

Park at the location indicated and follow the trail to Angel Falls. Be aware that several other side trails fork off of the main trail. Just before reaching Angel Falls, the trail crosses the main fork of Covell Creek, the checkpoint for the flow. Cross the main fork, then cross the west fork and continue up the Burley Mountain Trail. After several switchbacks, the trail nears the creek. At about GPS coordinates 46.42314, -121.85395 (2,500 ft) there is an easy place to descend to the West Fork.

Main Fork

Cross the West Fork and climb out the far side. The forest is open and the going is so easy it can barely be called bushwhacking. Ascend the ridge ~200 feet until the terrain abruptly flattens at ~2,600 ft. Continue southeast for about five minutes and descend easy slopes into the western fork of the Main Fork between 2,500 ft and 2,600 ft.

Descent - Main Fork to the Confluence

  • Rappel 1: 50 feet from tree DCL (Down Canyon Left). This is a short drop and least interesting on the creek. Most of the rope is needed for the horizontal distance. At the bottom, the central main branch enters and the amount of water increases.
  • Rappel 2: 30 feet.
  • Rappel 3: 65 feet.
  • Rappel 4: 120 feet from a tree DCL. In high flow, it may be better to rappel out of the water from a tree DCR (Down Canyon Right).
  • Bypass a short waterfall choked with fallen logs DCR.
  • Rappel 5, Bridal Veil Falls. It is not a long drop but it is very photogenic. The waterfall is 30 feet high, but 80 feet of rope is needed from a fallen tree across the creek some distance back from the top.

Below Rappel 5, walk downstream to the confluence. The flow doubles (or more) as the west fork of Covell Creek enters DCL. Below this point the beta is the same as the West Fork.

Descent - West Fork to the Confluence

Push on through to a dirty downclimb/rappel, followed by a nice area of bedrock. While the bedrock is easy to bypass DCR it may be better to remain in the creek (possibly with a rope to handline or rappel) to avoid tearing up the bank. Just ahead is Angel Falls which consists of two rappels, the latter is a multi-pitch rappel. It's almost like one long ramp.

  • Rappel 1: 190 feet from a tree DCR.
  • Rappel 2: 190 feet with two anchor options: Option A from a tree DCL about 30 feet up & back from the lip of the main falls, with a tricky stance but some line of sight. Option B from a tree DCR just below a root ball, also 30 feet up from the lip of the main falls. Other than a few thorny shrubs, Option B is a nice place to sit and anchor manage, but there is no line of sight. Both lines keep you in the dispersed flow. With a 300-feet/200-foot rope combo you could reach the tree DCL right at the lip with a nice platform—this would likely keep the rappeller completely out of the flow for the 2nd pitch.
  • Head downstream to the confluence. 

Descent - Both Forks below the confluence

Whether coming from the Main Fork or West Fork, continue downstream with 1-2 downclimbs until reaching Rappel 1 below the confluence. If flow is too high, climb back up to the main trail and exit.

  • Rappel 1: 75 feet from fallen log DCR into a nice narrows.
  • Rappel 2: 75 feet from a tree DCL. This is Covell Creek Falls and is a great spot for photos. Two established trails connect and travel under the falls. Exit canyon right to return to your cars on trail. Signs around the watercourse request hikers to remain on the trail to avoid trampling the fragile plant life below the falls. Try to remain in the creek bed to access photo spots, and/or if continuing downstream.

Below Covell Creek Falls is a high tourist area—there's a trail just above the creek DCR. Leaving fixed anchors is not recommended.

  • Rappel 3: 20 feet just below Covell Creek Falls. Anchor off a fallen log spanning the creek.
  • Rappel 4: 20 feet drop a short distance downstream. Anchor off a fallen log spanning the creek.

Exit

Exit immediately up DCR to the well-maintained trail just above the creek. Follow the trail around a scenic cliff band, then turn left at the junction, heading back down to your car.

equipment

Standard canyoning gear including replacement webbing and quick links. The anchors in this canyon are all natural anchors.

TRIP PROFILE

  • Rappels: 2-9
  • Longest Rappel: 400 feet (split into at least 2 pitches)
  • Approach: ~1.5 miles
  • Exit: ~1 mile
  • Time: 6-8 hours total for both forks
  • Suitable Activities: Canyoning
  • Seasons: March, April, May, October, November, December
  • Weather: View weather forecast
Map
  • Green Trails McCoy Peak No. 333
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