Waterfall Loop "Road" is really a trail, but the signposts refer to it as Waterfall Loop Road in most, but not all, places. At least one place calls it Waterfall Loop Trail. Also, there are signposts for both Waterfall Loop Road (this trail description) and Waterfall Loop Nature Trail
(a Featured Run). They differ slightly at their beginnings.
To find the Waterfall Loop Road, from the parking area, take the park road towards the campground. Watch carefully for a sign for Waterfall Loop Trail on the left. If while you are on the park road, you go over Swanson Creek on a bridge, you went too far.
Going left at the Waterfall Loop Trail sign from the park road, one begins running this Waterfall Loop Road trail in the thick woods of this area. Alec Canyon Trail
is on the left after 0.1 miles. After about another 0.1 miles an unmarked trail comes in from the right. This is Swanson Creek Trail
and where Waterfall Loop Nature Trail
merges into Waterfall Loop Road. After this point, Waterfall Loop Road and Waterfall Loop Nature Trail
are the same.
After merging with Waterfall Loop Nature Trail
at the Swanson Creek Trail
junction, Waterfall Loop Road crosses Swanson Creek on a sturdy bridge, and then climbs above the creek. The creek is below, to the left as the trail runs upstream. A short spur trail, Waterfall Loop Trail - Black Rock Falls Spur
, that takes one to Black Rock Falls is passed at the 0.5 mile mark. It is well worth visiting.
Almost immediately after passing Waterfall Loop Trail - Black Rock Falls Spur
, a picnic table is on the left at Myrtle Flats. Waterfall Loop Road makes a U-turn around the picnic table and begins heading downstream on a singletrack path that immediately descends to the creek. Continuing straight at the picnic table takes one to Basin Falls and Upper Falls on Basin Falls Trail
. This is not marked. Basin Falls and Upper Falls are close by and very pretty waterfalls.
Going downstream, Waterfall Loop Road travels right next to the creek at creek level. Little Falls is passed, and an unbridged Swanson Creek crossing is reached at the 0.95-mile mark. After crossing the creek, the trail ends by completing its loop at the first bridge over Swanson Creek.
There is a huge variety of lush creek side vegetation, bushes, flowering bushes, and trees. Pick up the Waterfall Loop Nature Trail
pamphlet at the trailhead to learn about and identify several of them. Along the trail, many are numbered with corresponding numbers that have descriptions in this pamphlet.