Nobe Young Falls Scramble


Season: May through October
Distance: 1/2 mile, round trip
Elevation: 6,200 feet
Difficulty: Strenuous – 1 1/2 hours
Drinking water: In the creek


About 1/4 mile south of the signed Crawford Road on the Great Western Divide Highway (6.7 miles south of the Ponderosa Lodge) is an abandoned logging road on the east side of the highway. Turn in here and park your car at a suitable turn-around. Continue on down the road for about 1/4 mile from the highway until the faint sounds of babbling Nobe Young Creek become the unmistakable sounds of falling water (but definitely not a roar). Careful scrutiny will reveal the falls.


Look for a suitable place to slip and slide down slope to the creek. If you are fortunate you will find a fisherman’s trail where someone else has slid down the bank. On reaching the creek, go upstream to the falls. They are taller (100-125 feet) than most of the falls east of the Mississippi River and are particularly picturesque when the creek is full of snow-melt. Be sure to bring a camera!


For the adventurous, the falls have a ledge and small amphitheater (45’W x 40’D x 12’H) where you can go behind the falls and look out — Just like Niagara Falls! — or perhaps you will be content to just sit and hold court over all nature’s subjects before you. There is also a very nice overlook at the top of the falls, but it is definitely not for acrophobics. Be very careful of your footing on this hike and please do not try this scramble all by yourself.

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Nobe Young Falls is a more secluded adventure that is a little harder to find. To get there from the Ponderosa Lodge, drive up the Western Divide towards the Trail of 100 Giants. The trail is not marked and is one you have to look for. Once you pass Crawford road on the right hand side, Nobe Young trailhead parking area is the very next major turnout to the left. The first half of the hike is an easy half mile east. The trail continues on but there is an easy-to-miss drop down trail to the falls. It’s a short hike but very steep. Once you get there you can feel the mist from the falls and have your choice of nature’s picnic area. At the bottom of the falls there is a shady precipice where you can feel the cool spray of the raging waters, or a flatter embankment to bask in the warmth of the sun. If you are feeling adventurous, up behind the falls is the favorite of picnic spots, where you can stay dry in the cave at the back of the falling waters. Nobe Young Falls is quite a magnificent sight.