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Ladder Creek Falls

North Cascades > North Cascades Highway - Hwy 20
48.6749, -121.2420 Map & Directions
0.5 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
359 feet
Highest Point
744 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Ladder Creek Falls in autumn. Photo by Bob and Barb.
  • Old growth
  • Good for kids
  • Waterfalls

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

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Meander along this path to a loud and misty falls near Newhalem which offer a great respite from heat on hot summer afternoons. Continue reading

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Hiking Ladder Creek Falls

Located behind the Gorge Powerhouse in Newhalem, Ladder Creek Falls offers a refreshing woodland retreat with exotic flora and close-up views of the third tier of this spectacular waterfall. When the hydroelectric project near Ross Lake was under construction during the 1930s and '40s, owner and developer J.D. Ross built a trail to nearby Ladder Creek Falls to showcase the area.

The falls and surrounding gardens quickly became a tourist attraction, illuminated at night with colored lights and livened up by music that was piped in on Friday evenings for visitors who came from Seattle for a night out.

The light show remains an attraction, running a 15 minute repeating program from dusk until midnight year-round, but the falls are enjoyable at any time, day or night. After the construction of the Powerhouse, the falls lost much of their volume to the dam upstream. But because the diversion is above the falls, enough water remains in glacier-fed Ladder Creek to allow for year-round flow.

There are signs marking the short informative trail near the powerhouse. Meander along the path to the loud and misty falls, which offer a great respite from heat on hot summer afternoons.

The path is paved and there are several benches to rest on. Enjoy the falls, and then return to your car over a small suspension bridge. That offers a more direct route than the one you arrived on.

Ladder Creek Falls

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 48.6749, -121.2420 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

A $26 backcountry permit is required to camp overnight in the North Cascades National Park Service Complex (incl. Ross Lake National Rec Area and Lake Chelan National Rec Area). Permits must be picked up in person at the Wilderness Information Center in Marblemount. See the National Park Service website for more information.

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Parking Pass/Entry Fee


WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

Getting There

Ladder Creek Falls can be found at the eastern end of the town of Newhalem, along Highway 20 at milepost 120. Park across the river from the Gorge Powerhouse and cross the river on the suspension bridge to the Ladder Creek Gardens. Follow the stairs along the creek to viewpoints of the falls.

More Hike Details


North Cascades > North Cascades Highway - Hwy 20

North Cascades National Park, Ross Lake National Recreation Area

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Ladder Creek Falls

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