Racehorse Falls, Washington (or the Tale for Four Trails)

Racehorse Falls:  A photogenic landscape near Bellingham, Washington
During a recent trip to Bellingham, Washington, I searched for photography destinations and saw some photos of Racehorse Falls.  This waterfall splits halfway down its' course, like an upside-down wishbone.  I'd never heard of it but it's beauty was without doubt.  With some very sketchy online accounts to guide me I drove to what Google called the trailhead.  Happily I discovered a good trail going directly into the woods.  Things were going great until I got to the river.  I heard water, I looked over the edge and saw two smaller waterfalls but not the big one I'd seen in photos.  Not Racehorse Falls.

Trail #1
The trail turned up (left) so that's where I went.

I continued to hear falling water and spied a rope tied to a tree.  This long rope went down a steep slope where I found another rope which continued to go down to the river.  At the bottom I discovered a beautiful waterfall and punchbowl pool.  This scene was photo-worthy so I took some photos but felt I ought to search further for the real Racehorse Falls.  Those two long ropes made climbing up the slope much easier and cleaner.  I'm glad they were there.
Bellingham Washington waterfall on Racehorse River
Punchbowl Pool and Waterfall on Racehorse River
Trail #2
The trail kept going higher so I followed . . . for a long time . . . without any sign or sound of a waterfall.  After much wasted effort I decided to return down the trail and go off on a different trail I'd seen near the beginning that had some logs across it (usually this means it's NOT the right trail).  I didn't know where else to look.  So back I went, almost to the trailhead, to pick up this other trail.
Racehorse falls trail through forest trees
Pretty trail but no waterfall going further uphill
Trail #3
After an easy walk in the woods this trail suddenly turned awful and going down to the water would risk my life if I pursued the steep unstable slope.  I stopped.  I returned again to the trailhead.

Trail #4
My fourth and final attempt at finding Racehorse falls had me hike straight to the river and then I went down (right) and discovered a hidden path that led right to the waterfall.  Alakazam!  There was Racehorse Falls and it was freaking gorgeous!!!
Tall Waterfall seen through the forest trees
First view of Racehorse Falls
landscape photography racehorse waterfall
Climb over the fallen logs and boulders to explore the
base of Racehorse Waterfall
Log at the base of Racehorse Waterfall cascade.
Racehorse Falls as seen from the boulder field directly at its' base.
waterfall washington landscape photography gordon smith
Profile of a beautiful waterfall
Gordon's hike rating:
Hike Difficulty:                   ★★★ Moderate because of steep parts
Trail Condition:                   ★★ Fair:  turns and directions are not marked, easy to go wrong
Trail Hazards:                      ★★★ Moderate:  steep slopes
Trailhead:                             Racehorse Falls Trailhead (on Google maps)
Time Required:                     2 hours if you know where to go
Distance round trip:              2 miles
Off the Beaten Path:             ★★★★ Yes, 4 Stars
Scenery:                                ★★★★ Great
Photographic Potential:        ★★★★  Great, Unique waterfall in stunning setting