The Muddy River harbors several waterfalls as it cascades off the slopes of Mount St. Helens, but until the May 18, 1980 eruption most were very difficult, if not impossible to access. The eruption melted the Shoestring Glacier and sent a massive lahar surging down the valley, which scoured away vegetation and stripped topsoil back to reveal the nuances of the canyon in full. Three decades later, the canyon has made great strides towards recovering from the devastation that was wreaked in 1980.
This pair of punchbowl waterfalls is the smallest of the six sets of falls within Lava Canyon, found roughly equidistant from the brink of Lava Canyon Falls and the suspension bridge which can be seen spanning the gorge upstream of the falls. Severe flooding in 2006 made Twin Falls substantially more visible from the trail, ultimately a great benefit to the safety of this trail because there have been multiple fatalities where visitors opted to splash in the river just below Twin Falls and were caught unaware by the current and swept over the substantially larger Lava Canyon Falls just downstream.
When visiting the waterfalls of Lava Canyon, extreme caution should be exercised. There have been dozens of fatalities as a result of visitors edging too close to the lip of the gorge, or splashing in the river and being suddenly swept away and over one of the waterfalls.
- Twin Falls is the Unofficial name of this waterfall.
Lava Canyon is located on the southeast side of Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. From Interstate 5 at Woodland, drive east along SR 503 for 35 miles, or 12 1/2 miles west of the Pine Creek Information station along FSR 90, to FSR 83. Turn and follow FSR 83 to its end at the trailhead in 11 miles, following the signs to Lava Canyon. The first half mile of the trail to the viewpoint of Upper Lava Canyon Falls is handicap accessible. From the end of the paved trail, follow the more moderate trail downstream for 1/5 of a mile to the suspension bridge, then continue past and down a much steeper and more treacherous trail for another 500 or so feet to where the falls are visible. Extreme caution should be used on this section of the trail; it is very steep, crumbly, poorly graded and features many sections with significant exposure and no protection. The Lava Canyon trail has periodically been closed due to flood damage or slides, and if closures are encountered, please heed warnings and do not proceed down the trail.