This is one of the premier waterfall hikes in Southern Washington.
From the Lower Lewis River Falls Trailhead make your way down any of the use paths to views of Lower Falls. The trail on the edge of the bluff is the Lewis River Trail (#31). Walk to the right as far as you like for different views of the waterfall. Continue past the trailhead and the restrooms. This first part of the trail travels through the large campground. There are lots of use paths, but if you stay right, you can't go wrong. Soon you'll climb a small hill to the edge of the campground. There's a sign here marking the Lewis River Trail. Continue east up the hill and head upriver.
The trail soon passes quite near FR 90 and you may hear and see cars. After a bit though the trail drops away from the road. There's a small footbridge above a seasonal waterfall. This bridge is currently unsafe (July 2010) and closed but you can cross the small creek just upstream of the bridge.
You'll come to a junction with Middle Falls Trail. This one mile loop trail connects to a small parking lot along FR90 and also gives you a nice side trip to Copper Creek Falls. This makes a nice little side trip on the way in or on the way home.
Back on the main trail you'll walk about a mile to the base of Upper Falls.
The next part of the trail is a steep climb, but the climb is short and the rewards are great. The trail works up the side of the Alec Creek Canyon gaining about 150 feet in a quarter mile. Then the trail heads back along the top of the bluff to the top of Upper Falls. There's a short side trail that leads down to a couple of great views.
The last waterfall is the smallest of the bunch, but it's only a 1/4 mile, so it's worth the trip. This is Taitnapum Falls. Return the way you came.
To hike Drive north from Portland on Interstate 5 to Woodland, WA. Leave the freeway at Exit 21 and turn right on to Lewis River Rd, signed as Highway 503. Follow the signs for Mt. St. Helens. Continue straight on Highway 503 Spur 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 (or 61 miles from I-5), in the Lower Falls Recreation Area. Turn right off Road 90 and right again into the day use area.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.
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