Waterfall Wanderings

I spent Saturday wandering along the East Fork Lewis River in the southwest corner of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest before I drove into Portland that evening for my cousin’s birthday party.

The East Fork Lewis River just below Lucia Falls

The East Fork Lewis River just below Lucia Falls

My first stop was at Lucia Falls Park, where Lucia Falls has a drop of about 15 feet.  Don’t be fooled but its short height, it is still an impressive waterfall as it is 50 feet wide.  Due the large amount of rains we have recently had, the water was really surging over the falls.  I’m really curious to visit this area again in the fall and see how it looks with a lower water volume.

Lucia Falls

Lucia Falls

After exploring a few of the trails around the falls (and trying not to fall into the river – those rocks are extremely slippery), it was time to head back to the car and drive off in search of my next waterfall: Moulton Falls.

Moulton Falls Park is a 387 acre park where Big Tree Creek flows into the East Fork Lewis River.  Dropping approximately 10 feet, Moulton Falls is definitely not a big waterall and when the water is running high as it was during my visit, the falls appear to be more of a rapid than an actual waterfall.

Moulton Falls

Moulton Falls

The highlight of the park isn’t necessarily the waterfall, but rather one of the bridges that crosses high over the water.

High Bridge

High Bridge over the East Fork Lewis River

I loved the color of the water as it flowed through the canyon and took the opportunity to do some close ups of some of the rocks and the water as it flowed by.

East Fork Lewis River Close up 2 East Fork Lewis River Close UP

After leaving the area around Moulton Falls, I headed upriver in search of one more waterfall – Sunset Falls, located in Sunset Falls Park and the uppermost falls on the East Fork Lewis River.  Sunset Falls Park is a U.S. Forest Service Park so you will need either a Northwest Forest Pass or an America the Beautiful Pass to visit (or you can always visit on a fee free day).

Sunset Falls

Sunset Falls

It was almost time to start heading back so I wouldn’t be late for my cousin’s birthday party (there’s no way I was going to be late for strawberry shortcake), but I had time to find one more waterfall.  Big Tree Creek Falls was the biggest waterfall I found as it drops approximately 60 feet as it tumbles downstream towards the town of Yacolt.  From what I’ve read, it is possible to get to the base of the falls without the use of ropes, though I didn’t see the way down when I was there, and since I was by myself, I certainly wasn’t going to take any unnecessary risks (falling on slippery rocks was not how I planned to spend my afternoon).  Big Tree Creek Falls is on Weyerhauser Land, so if you decide to visit, please make sure you don’t block the gate as if enough people do this, it will end up restricting access for everyone.

Big Tree Creek Falls

Big Tree Creek Falls

That was all the time I had for exploring so it was time to hustle back to the car and make my way across the Columbia River and into Portland as there was a birthday to celebrate.

Until the next adventure….

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