This beautiful and quite powerful waterfall actually looks better during lower water periods. When the water is high, a solid wall of water crashes into the large pool in spectacular fashion, but during low water periods, the falls look more graceful and calmer. Be careful in this area, the rim of the canyon is abrupt and the river is fed by glaciers on Mt. Adams. The falls have created a nice plunge pool, perfect for swimming in. Be sure to stay away from the falls however. While I was visiting the falls once, a group of 5 (dumb) people were climbing around on the rocks beneath the base of the falls. Not a very smart thing considering this is a glacial river, and one wrong slip could end up sending a person into the powerful undertow beneath the falls, which would almost definitely be fatal. The falls are accessed from the Lower Falls Recreation area, which features a nice campground, a good starting point for exploring the numerous other waterfalls in the area.
- Lower Lewis River Falls is the Official name of this waterfall.
- Known Alternate Names: Lower Falls, Lower Lewis Falls, Lower Falls of the Lewis River
The Forest Service and USGS refers to this simply as Lower Falls, but pretty much every guidebook its ever been mentioned in have it listed as either Lower Lewis Falls or Lower Lewis River Falls and the precedent goes back decades.
Take Interstate 5 to the town of Woodland, and exit onto Highway 503 heading east. Follow 503 east to Cougar, and continue to Forrest Service Road # 90, just passed the Pine Creek Ranger Station. Follow FR 90 for 14 miles to the Lower Falls Recreation Area. Parking for the falls is to the right of the entrance. There are numerous trails along the canyon leading to several good views of the falls in less than 500 feet.