Despite their name, the Horizontal Falls are a fast-moving tidal flow through two narrow, closely aligned gorges of the McLarty Range, located in Talbot Bay. The direction of the flow reverses with each change of tide. As tides in the Kimberley can reach 10 metres, a peak tide gives rise to a significant difference in the sea level on either side of each gorge.
The northern, most seaward gorge (16°22′35″S 123°57′34″E) is 20 metres wide and the southern, more inland gorge (16°22′59″S 123°57′29″E) is 12 metres. Above each of the gorges are natural reservoirs between six and eight kilometres long which fill and empty with seawater through the gorge openings. The inner gorge is also partly fed by fresh water from Poulton Creek.