Upper Buffalo Wilderness – a Boen Gulf bushwhack

The Boen Gulf access point for the Upper Buffalo Wilderness is the primary way of accessing 4 nearby waterfalls – Magnolia, Woods Boys, Stahle, and Hadlock Cascade, though you can also get to Paradise Falls with a bit more walking.  I’ve day-hiked this area 2 or 3 times but this was first time backpacking there – a 2-nighter accompanied by RC and CC.  Rain the previous day had the creeks flowing well.

There is a well-worn path following an old road from the trail head.  About a mile in you cross a small creek and on the left is a spur to the 4 waterfalls.  Taking that spur you end up on a bluff at the top of Magnolia Falls with several social trails leading down below and to the top of Woods Boys Falls less than 200′ away.  The Hadlock Cascade is further downstream and not visible from here.  To get to the top of Stahle Falls, you cross the creek above Magnolia Falls and follow the bluff line west about .25 miles.  I didn’t have my camera for this side trip but have included a couple pictures from a previous trip.

The main path continues slightly uphill and then steeply down to a creek 300′ below.  We camped both nights near the confluence of this creek and a smaller one.  One can follow this creek upstream to see some great scenery and arrive at the base of Hadlock Cascade and access the other falls from below (with a bit of work).

On day #2, we hiked downstream about .25 miles on the old road to the Boen Gulf Branch, then turned up it and bushwhacked about 1 mile to Paradise Falls.  About .1 miles below the falls, the going got pretty challenging but we found a way through.  After lunch below the falls we found a way up out of the ravine – which was also pretty dicey because of ice and mud – and walked upstream a bit to find some smaller falls and nice scenery in general.  Then we headed south across a broad level area where one or more farms had almost certainly once been, and back down to camp.  Total mileage for the day was less than 4 but it felt like more.

These falls have been well-documented by Tim Ernst.


About Michael R

I enjoy hiking, landscaping with native plants, nature photography, dark chocolate, fine dining, good movies, and old jazz.
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