Type of HikeDay hike
SnowSnowfields to cross - could be difficult
A couple of years back, The DNR posted a sign at the Mt. Tenerife trailhead (at the school bus turnaround on Mt. Si Road) proclaiming that a new, authorized trail to Kamikaze Falls would be built to replace the old, ecologically unfriendly user-built route. The sign claimed that the new trail would be finished (and the old trail returned to nature) by the end of 2009. Understandably, the Great Recession has delayed the completion of this project a bit, but the new trail is in fantastic condition, with only a few culverts left to be completed. You walk up the old Tenerife road/trail for a little less than one mile, then take the right-hand trail (clearly marked with another DNR sign announcing the Kamikaze trail rebuild). After about a quarter of a mile on the new trail, a side-route branches off to the right into the woods (heading roughly southeast); I didn’t follow that branch, but assume it leads out to a viewpoint over the North Bend area. The new trail leads you gradually up to a steep talus slope, and then skirts along the base of that slope until reaching a switchback where you can see the intersection with the old trail (with tree branches laid across the intersection to discourage you from exploring it). From here on the trail cuts up the talus slope on a gently ascending balcony, which was flooded with sun on this beautiful winter day. Soon it narrows and becomes much more rocky, switchbacking up the face of Tenerife-- usually not too steeply, but enough to make me take off my heavy winter coat and gloves. I’d say I spent a good 45 minutes working my way up to the waterfall, pausing occasionally to catch my breath. When you get there, you first reach the lower falls. Water sheets down about 60 vertical feet, with the upper falls invisible from this vantage point. Don’t worry; it gets better—- a lot better. Continue up the switchbacks in order to gain another 200 feet or so. Then you’ll reach the base of the upper falls, plunging dramatically from 250’ above. This last stretch was quite icy and slippery, so be careful and bring traction devices just in case. The falls are gorgeous, and only fading daylight forced me to turn around and head for home. Approximately 4 miles round-trip, and 1,350 feet of elevation gain.