Grant Purcell Falls is a pretty series of small slides and cascades where Purcell Creek drops towards the Cowlitz River. The first fall is a smooth sliding series of ledges totaling 26 feet tall. The next drop is a smooth 16 foot fall with a set of potholes halfway down. The third drop starts by crashing through a logjam then condensing and fluming into a pool, 19 feet tall in all. The fourth and tallest drop starts out plunging over and under another logjam then slides into a small pool with a nice beach 28 feet below, and finally the last drop zigzags down a trough for 25 feet. The falls occur in an area that is subject to lots of natural abuse. First of all, the slopes above the falls are steep and there are many trees that have fallen into the gorge and onto the falls, making it a little harder to see parts of the cascades. During one of my visits, I was setting my camera up next to the falls when a large chunk of tree trunk crashed down into the pool next to me, landing not 5 feet from my head. Needless to say it scared the shit out of me - enough that I jumped onto my tripod leg and bent it. Further, the Cowlitz River went absolutely berserk during the 2006 floods and damaged the La Wis Wis Campground where the falls are located, and it is thought that Purcell Creek probably flooded itself and in the process "adjusted" the logs lying in the falls for better or worse. The trails alongside the falls have also been subject to damage from fallen trees in the area. Though Purcell Creek is a small stream, it seems to be a fairly consistent stream, flowing at about the same volume for most of the year (though during the spring the snow melt brings it to a boil).
- Grant Purcell Falls is the Official name of this waterfall.
- Known Alternate Names: Purcell Falls
Grant Purcell Falls is accessed from within La Wis Wis Campground, just south of the junction of Highway 123 and US 12 between Packwood and Mount Rainier National Park. The trailhead to the falls is located halfway through the C loop of the campground. The trail leads to the falls in about 1/4 mile.