Lewis River Falls

  • June 14, 2014 · 6:00 AM
  • This location is shown only to members

Disclaimer: We will be in the wilderness. Serious injury or death can occur. I am not a professional guide, by attending this hike you are assuming responsibility for your own personal safety and only yourself can be held responsible

Fee: $0

Distance: 8.8 Miles round trip

Elevation Gain: 450 feet elevation gain

Highest Point: 1,300 feet elevation gain

Difficulty: Medium

Pace: Moderate

Dogs: Yes on leash

Pass: America the Beautiful (Interagency), Northwest Forest Pass

Type: Out and back

Toilet Facilities: At Trailhead

Water Source: Always boil, filter or chemically treat your drinking water to prevent water borne illnesses

Drive: 3 hours each way

Conditions: Expect muddy trail conditions with possible snow. Expect rapidly changing weather conditions including rain, snow, and wind.

Description:

Taken from WTA

Step into the moss-cloaked forest of the Lewis River, where giant cedars, nurse logs, ancient stumps and rushing water abound.

To hike the lower section of the Lewis River is to step into a different world, populated by fantastic patches of old-growth fir and cedar in a shadowy section of the Gifford Pinchot. Its easily accessible location and fairly flat riverside route make it a perfect early-spring hike. Throw in a few waterfalls, wildflowers and a variety of ancient forest pecularities — including pinesap, coralroot and gnome plant—and you have an outdoor discovery destination suitable for the whole family, even Fido.

From the trailhead parking area, first head downstream a few hundred yards to viewpoints of cascading Curly Creek and Miller Creek Falls, which will whet your appetite for what's yet to come. Retrace your steps and head upstream, where old-growth Douglas-fir and western redcedar draped with angel hair, reach skyward, while mossy nurse logs occupy the forest floor with their fledgling new growth.

The Lower Lewis River Falls are spectacular. At a 43 feet high and 200 feet across, they are larger in person than photos may lead you to believe. On the left side is a churning trough which gathers most of the water flow, and there are several viewpoints to capture the scene from.

Look for carpets of vanilla-leaf here and there, and the bright white blooms of early season trillium swaying to and fro. Notice the gigantic stumps where giants once stood, the almost spongy wood a brilliant reddish color against the greens of the forest.

Another mile and a half upstream lie the Middle Lewis River Falls, a river-width combination of a waterfall and a cascade of water sheeting along bedrock. The viewpoints are limited here, but even the riverbed is pretty, the clarity of the water revealing its ragged volcanic nature. A short side trail up to Lower Copper Creek Falls brings hikers to a small trickle of water that drops 32 feet in a classic formation.

Carry on, and at 2.5 miles find the Bolt Camp Shelter, a neat place to spend a little time pondering the history of this now quiet area. Continuing upstream, the forest becomes sprinkled with a smaller mix of trees. You will shortly arrive at the very impressive Upper Lewis River Falls. Again, photographs do not do this area justice. The falls are 58 feet high and 175 feet across. Have lunch at the river's edge below the falls and enjoy the view, as well as the cool breeze drifting off of the moving water.

Taitnapum Falls lies a short distance further up the trail, so curious hikers can continue on. But a surprise waits for you before reaching Taitnapum; about a quarter mile beyond the lower viewpoint is another viewpoint of the Upper Lewis River Falls. It requires a steep uphill climb, but is worth the effort.

Taitnapum Falls drops only 16 feet across the 60 foot width of the river. Its most noteworthy feature is the raggedness of its lip. Most waterfalls course over a well-rounded lip, but not Taitnapum. Its lip has resisted wearing evenly, leaving a bizarre ragged undercut edge for the water to spill over.

Turn around here, or continue the remaining one third of a mile to the Quartz Creek Trailhead, where you can embark on another adventure, or turn around and head back to your starting point at the Lower Falls Recreation Area.

Driving Directions:
From I-5, exit the freeway at Exit 21 and turn right on to Lewis River Road, signed as Highway 503. Drive east on Highway 503 for 23 miles to the former location of Jack's Restaurant, ans continue straight on Highway 503 through the town of Cougar. The road changes to Forest Road 90 at the Skamania County Line. Continue east on 90 to a junction with FR 25, about 47 miles from the freeway. You'll turn right here, staying on FR 90. Cross the North Fork of the Lewis River, pass the Eagle Creek Store and continue up FR 90 into the forest. The Lower Lewis River Falls Trailhead is about 14 miles from Road 25, in the Lower Falls Recreation Area. Turn right off Road 90 and right again into the day use area. Park near the restrooms and take any of the use paths down to the Lewis River Trail.

Please bring Gas money for drivers $20 suggested

Further Reading:
http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/lewis-river-falls
http://www.waterfallsnorthwest.com/nws/falls.php?num=5430

Current Weather Conditions:
http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lat=46.1022&lon=-121.9065&site=sew&smap=1&unit=0&lg=en&FcstType=text#.U3vZ9hAkWQJ

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  • Jason W

    What a great day. Nice company and scenery. The weather cooperated and not too many people got wet :-)

    June 15, 2014

  • Carolyn B.

    What a wonderful hike with such an awesome group. Can't wait to see you all out on the trail again soon.

    June 15, 2014

    • Clint S

      see you all on the trail soon have a great summer! :)

      1 · June 15, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Beautiful pics, thank you for sharing:)

      1 · June 15, 2014

  • Troy D.

    Awsome hike. The waterfalls are spectacular this time of year. great company on the trail. Thanks Jason for putting this hike together.

    1 · June 15, 2014

  • karen

    Sorry for last minute change - but I will not make it tomorrow.

    June 13, 2014

  • Reza

    Sorry something else came up, hopefully next time and have fun.

    June 13, 2014

  • Judy K

    Hey, enjoy the hike Jason - keeping my fingers crossed for good weather for you!

    1 · June 12, 2014

    • Jason W

      We will see. I do seem to have good luck. We will have fun in any weather though

      1 · June 13, 2014

  • Clint S

    looking to be a passenger does anyone have room for one and gear?

    June 12, 2014

    • Carolyn B.

      So far I don't have anyone committed to riding with me so you can. I was planning on stopping for dinner with Jason would you be open to doing that or will you need to be back sooner?

      June 12, 2014

  • Jason W

    Clint (And all)

    With my experience, last minute cancellations and no shows do happen occasionally. We will arrange carpools in the morning at the Park n Ride with everyone present. It seems like we have plenty of potential drivers so we will have everyone covered that would prefer not to drive.

    1 · June 12, 2014

  • Clint S

    meeting at lacey P&R

    June 12, 2014

  • Lucia H.

    Thank you for the info Jason,
    given the weather forecast I pass.
    Have fun!

    June 12, 2014

  • Jason W

    They are calling for 30% chance of showers on Saturday so bring rain gear (You should always anyway). Most of the hike is under the cover of trees which should help shield us some if it does rain.

    They are saying rain today and tomorrow so the trail most likely will be muddy. There are also some view points off trail that may be wet to access if you choose to take a look. Bottom line is to expect wet and we will be happy wet or dry.

    Please consider if you would like to stop for dinner in Woodland. Saturday morning we will break off into car pools with those who are stopping and those who are not.

    June 12, 2014

  • Richard

    will be chasing Storm on Friday and working Saturday preping samples, will have to pass on this hike, catch up later.

    June 12, 2014

  • Tina M

    Next time...

    June 11, 2014

  • Tom Y.

    Going out of town for the weekend. I was looking forward to making this one. Have fun.

    June 11, 2014

  • Steven G.

    I will be hiking but with my girls, so I am talking myself off the list.

    June 10, 2014

  • Cynthia F.

    Change of plans for the weekend and won't be able to make it so one from the waiting list is going to be able to attend- have a great hike.

    June 9, 2014

  • Jason W

    I can drive and can take three passangers. It looks like we have plenty of potential drivers. Everyone just please bring your pass if you have one to ensure all drivers are covered. We can figure out drivers at the park n ride that morning.

    1 · June 8, 2014

    • Carolyn B.

      Jason are you bringing your camera? I am....

      1 · June 8, 2014

    • Jason W

      Of course. Part of the reason for such an early start time. There is quite a long drive but also allows plenty of time to spend on the trail

      June 8, 2014

  • Carolyn B.

    I can take 3 people and have an interagency forest pass

    June 8, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    It looks like we have 4 who have offered to drive, plus myself if necessary. Could I get confirmation from potential drivers as to whether it will be ok for me to bring my Boston Terrier in your vehicle? She's 20lbs and would sit on my lap during the drive. Thank you~

    June 7, 2014

    • karen

      I can drive too, and prefer driving and would not mind at all to have your dog in my car! :)

      1 · June 7, 2014

    • karen

      I can take 3 plus dog! :)

      June 7, 2014

  • Steven G.

    I will be coming from Portland. What is the anticipated time to arrive at the trailhead?

    June 6, 2014

    • Jason W

      Steven, an estimate is 9:00am and there is not any cell phone coverage out there. Another option is meeting where we both would leave I-5 in Woodland. You can leave your car at the Woodland Park and Ride; 900 Goerig ST and carpool from there. We would be there around 7:30am. If you would rather this option, let’s exchange phone numbers offline and we can be sure we can link up with each other there.

      June 6, 2014

    • Steven G.

      I will need to drive to the trailhead since I will be backpacking and spending the night on the trail. I will meet you'all at the P&R at 7:30.

      June 6, 2014

  • Cynthia F.

    I can drive 3 and I have an Interagency pass.

    May 29, 2014

  • Carolyn B.

    I can drive. thanks for setting this up Jason. Also I would love to stop also for dinner.

    May 23, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sounds wonderful! I will be bringing my Boston Terrier as she loves to hike almost as much as I do. If this is a problem for the drivers, I can drive as well.

    1 · May 22, 2014

  • Angel C.

    I can drive.

    May 21, 2014

  • Jason W

    Because of the long drive time I plan on stopping for dinner at Oak Tree Restaurant in Woodland WA

    http://www.oaktree-lucky21.com/oak-tree-restaurant

    May 20, 2014

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