• Activities:

    Chillin, Photography

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Year Round

Easy Parking
Scenic
Waterfall
Swimming Hole

Unique waterfall that can be driven to. Year-round accessibility. Only 5 minutes off Highway 2. Perfect pitstop after skiing, mountain biking, or road tripping. Duration: 15 minutes pitstop or an entire afternoon.

Note: Please be careful when exploring the falls. We recommend not walking on the surfaces directly next to the falls as the water is moving very quickly and can pick you up quickly. The falls are home to several very sad losses. 

Sunset Falls is the largest and the final of the three major waterfalls on the South Fork of the Skykomish River. The falls drop 104 vertical feet over a 350-foot long granite chute. There are several large boulders in the middle of the falls that form massive rooster tails during high flow, which can easily shoot over 30 feet into the air. This is a perfect spot to hang out at during the summer, and a great attraction to stare at during any season.

Sunset Falls is typically accessible at all times of the year, however, a recent landslide has made it more complicated to reach the upper section of the falls. Due to this landslide, the gate immediately preceding the falls is locked. Park your car at the gate and walk the remaining 500ft to the base of the falls. Viewing the falls from below is always going to be the safest option, regardless of the season or weather conditions. The granite surrounding the falls can become very slippery, and many people have perished from getting too close.

Accessing the falls is not publicly convenient at the moment, but it is still entirely possible. Please be mindful of the posted speed limits while driving on Mt. Index River Road, because it passes through the private Mt. Index Community. The community does not openly encourage visitation to the falls, however, there are several vacation rental properties in the vicinity that will allow visitors open access. There is a facility on the north side of the river owned and operated by the Department of Fish and Wildlife that was in the past used for public access, however, vandalism has forced the state to close it. Several groups are negotiating to have public access restored to this side of the river, but in the meantime, please only access the falls in a respectful manner.

DIRECTIONS: 47.80396 N, -121.54962 W. 

From Everett: Head east on Highway 2 for 36 miles, the turn right onto Mt. Index Rd. Mt. Index Rd. turns slightly left and becomes Mt. Index River Rd. Follow Mt. Index River Rd. for 1.6 miles then park at the closed gate and walk 500ft to the base of the falls.

Pack List

AUTUMN - SPRING:

  • Camera
  • Water
  • Jacket

SUMMER:

  • Camera
  • Snacks/ picnic
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Community Photos

+ Add Photos

Reviews

Overall rating: 

Leave a Review

I lost my boyfriend 11 days ago on June 17th, 2017, when he slipped and fell into this deadly falls. Ten days later another person fell and was presumably also killed by the falls (yesterday). Here is the Seattle Times article about both deaths: http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/2nd-person-goes-missing-this-month-after-fall-into-skykomish-river-near-index/ This is not the beginning and not the end of the danger at Sunset Falls. People have died there before our accident and have died afterwards. There are no caution signs and it will take a while to go through any legal process to install warnings. I just want people to know that it could be deadly to go close to Sunset Falls due to the slippery rocks. You will not make it out once you fall in. Six people in the last few years have were killed (2 in 10 days of June 2017) should be a warning to you. I lost my boyfriend 11 days ago on June 17th, 2017, when he slipped and fell into this deadly falls. Ten days later another person fell and was also killed by the falls (yesterday). Here is the Seattle Times article about both deaths: http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/2nd-person-goes-missing-this-month-after-fall-into-skykomish-river-near-index/ This is not the beginning and not the end of the danger at Sunset Falls. People have died there before our accident and have died afterwards. There are no caution signs and it will take a while to go through any legal process to install warnings. I just want people to know that it could be deadly to go close to Sunset Falls due to the slippery rocks. You will not make it out once you fall in. Six people in the last few years have were killed (2 in 10 days of June 2017) should be a warning to you.

8 months ago
8 months ago

Stephen Bellrichard

Outdoors > Indoors. Enjoys photography, skiing, and exploring of all kinds.

Are we missing something? Suggest an edit

Nearby Adventures

Hike the Sugar Bowl Loop in Kings Canyon NP

Tulare County, California

First and foremost, to get to this trailhead you need to drive down a 2-mile, one lane dirt road that is quite steep.

3 Saves

Hike to Ehukai Pillbox

59178 Ke Nui Road, Hawaii

This hike starts directly across from Banzai Pipeline, the famous barreling wave at Ehukai Beach.

4 Saves

Winter Hike to Calypso Cascades

1046 County Highway 115, Colorado

While most people go snowshoeing near the Bear Lake or Glacier Gorge area in RMNP, Wild Basin is a much less trafficked option.

5 Saves