While technically not the real upper waterfall of the Lewis River, Upper Lewis River Falls is the tallest of the four major falls on this section of the river. Here the Lewis encounters a strangely squared sheet of basalt, sheets out over the flat rock allowing a small portion of the river to plunge a sheer 58 feet over the overhanging cliff, but the majority of the water gathers in a narrow trough and stair-steps to the pool below. The falls can vary from a solid curtain of pure roar to being isolated in the narrow channel on the left side, leaving the more vertical part of the falls dry. In addition to being the largest of the four falls, this is also the most isolated. The trail that once dropped from FR 90 to the falls is long gone so a longer hike (in a relative sense at least) is now necessary to reach this one.
- Upper Lewis River Falls is the Official name of this waterfall.
- Known Alternate Names: Upper Lewis Falls, Upper Falls
The Forest Service and USGS refers to this simply as Upper Falls, but pretty much every guidebook its ever been mentioned in have it listed as either Upper Lewis Falls or Upper Lewis River Falls and the precedent goes back decades.
The Upper Falls of the Lewis are found between the Quartz Creek and Middle Falls trailheads along Forest Road 90 near Mount Adams. The falls can be accessed by hiking a little over 3/4 mile upstream from Middle Lewis River Falls (about 1 1/4 miles total from the Middle Falls trailhead - see Middle Lewis River Falls for directions) or by starting at the Quartz Creek Trailhead and following the Lewis River Trail downstream for 3/4 of a mile, passing Taitnapum Falls at the halfway mark. Best access to the pool below the falls is from the north side of Alec Creek where it enters the Lewis River.