Gulch Creek Trail

This astonishing whitewater cataract is formed where a high-volume creek blasts through a bedrock slot. It can be viewed from above—straight above—on a little-known trailhead bridge. While not a waterfall per se, the hydraulic beneath the Gulch Creek bridge is one of many spectacular rapids on the challenging descent down the East Fork of Sixmile Creek, running parallel to the Seward Highway through the Kenai Mountains about 70 miles south of Anchorage. Only a few dozen yards from the paved bike path, and close to paved parking, the cascade has the feel of a secret gorge in an adventure movie, offering a safe glimpse of a harrowing natural wonder.

Best Viewing Spots

The bridge across the gorge—marking the beginning of the historic mining trail up Gulch Creek—is the perfect viewing platform for this cataract. The trail begins at a pullout at about Mile 57.5 on the north side of the Seward Highway (the side overlooking the gorge) about .75 miles north of the Hope Cutoff wayside. It has room for a few cars, but working placer miners use the site to park their rigs and you should avoid blocking them in. For a more spacious parking option, try a double-ended pullout a quarter to the north at about Mile 57.7. It’s an easy stroll to the trailhead and its short-but-steep descent to the bridge. Bikers can also reach the site on the paved trail from the wayside.

Getting There

Latitude: 60.769952
Longitude: -149.402719

From Anchorage, drive south on the Seward Highway to the head of Turnagain Arm and continue over Turnagain Pass into the Kenai Mountains until the pullout with parking at Mile 57.7. It’s about 1.5 miles north of the Hope Cutoff, and about 4 miles south of the bridge over the East Fork.

Driving Directions