Although there are few waterfalls which plummet into Ayance Canyon along the Clear Fork Cowlitz River, the handful that do are quite notable. Lava Creek Falls is the largest and easiest to access. The falls steeply sheet over oddly-textured volcanic bedrock (likely columnar basalt) then plunge into the depths of the canyon, dropping over 250 feet. The falls can be easily admired from the side of the road, but unfortunately, close up views are prohibitively dangerous to achieve. Though Lava Creek possesses a modest drainage area, the falls don't appear terribly different as the volume of the stream varies. Later in the year, the water appears more braided, and early in the summer, it consists of a solid sheet of water. Any time of year, it's well worth a look.
- Lava Creek Falls is the Official name of this waterfall.
Located along Highway 12, between White Pass, and Mount Rainier National Park. From the junction of SR 123 and US 12, drive east on US 12 for about 5 miles to a turnout on the right side of the road, where the falls can be seen. It is possible to reach the base of the falls, though I don't recommend it be undertaken by those uncomfortable with cross country travel. About 1/2 of a mile west of the roadside viewpoint, there is a large dirt pullout on the uphill side of the road. Park here, and find an old dirt road across the street. About 200 feet down this road, a trail takes off to the right. Follow this trail for about 3/4 of a mile, to the bottom of the canyon. Here, you're about 1000 feet downstream of the base of the falls. Ford the Clear Fork of the Cowlitz River (only attempt this late in the year), and then walk up the opposite bank, until you reach the falls.