How to Get to Lower Lewis Falls Hike!

Lower Lewis Falls had me at “hello” ~ with one photo.  When my friend, Kim, sent a shot of the falls at 9AM on a Sunday, after a veryyyy late night of Portland carousing, I literally leapt out of bed & said, “I have to see this place in real life!!”  And, it’s even better in real life: the falls are MASSIVE, incredibly turquoise, & there are amazzing swimming spots near the falls (you can dip in above or below them).  So in this post, we’ll learn how to get to Lower Lewis Falls hike, & then I’ll show you photos of the hike & give you tips for maximizing your fun at the falls!

How to Get to Lower Lewis Falls Hike, Girl Who Travels the World

Just three gals from Portland, with Lower Lewis Falls behind us..

How to Get to Lower Lewis Falls Hike

Lower Lewis Falls Trailhead

Directions to Lower Lewis Falls

Closest Town: Cougar, WA

Type in “Lower Falls Campground” to Google, or “Lower Lewis River Falls,” & that should pull up the best route from your location.

  • From I-5 in WA, Exit in Woodland onto 503 East (Lewis River Road)
  • Stay on 503 for 61 miles, passing thru Cougar (you’ll follow a beautiful river all the way to Lower Lewis Falls)
  • Shortly after Cougar, 503 turns into NFD Road 90 (you still have about 30 miles to go)
  • Turn right onto NFD Road 100, & look for signs for “Lower Lewis Falls Campground/Day Use”

Lower Lewis Falls Hike Info

  • Starting Point: Lower Falls Campground/Day Use Area
  • Total Trail Distance: 6.6 miles (though you can make it longer)
  • Hike Type: Out-and-back, on trail
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Time: 2-3 hours, longer if you want to swim near the falls
  • Elevation Gain: 320 feet (feels like more)
  • Pet-friendly: Yes
  • Kid-friendly: Yes
  • Good for Trail-Running/Marathon Training: Yes
  • Crowded: Moderate to crowded
  • All Seasons? Yes, but best on warm, summer days!

Lower Lewis Falls Hike Photos!

The beautiful thing about Lower Lewis Falls is that the MAJOR pay-off is right at the beginning ~ no hiking necessary.  After parking at Lower Falls Campground (near restrooms), follow the trail to the right, & within a few hundred yards, you’ll get crazy views of Lower Lewis Falls.  This is where most people congregate, on top of and below the falls ~ & you’ll find tons of great photo ops here. 

If you want to go for a swim, simply take one of the (steep) trails down the left, & they’ll drop you right to the water’s edge.  From there: wade around, take selfies, do whatever you want to do!  Likewise, if you want to see the vantage point from on top of the falls, head back towards the parking lot, & look for people walking out towards the crystal-clear pools at the top of the falls.

How to Get to Lower Lewis Falls Hike, Girl WHo Travels the World

The pay-off here is right at the beginning of the trail ~ no hike necessary: Lower Lewis Falls. Bring your suit!

How to Get to Lower Lewis Falls Hike, Girl WHo Travels the World

Climb down from the main trail to get into the water at the base of Lower Lewis Falls. You won’t be alone!

How to Get to Lower Lewis Falls Hike, Girl WHo Travels the World

Many people congregate at the base of the falls, on the “Sand Island.”

How to Get to Lower Lewis Falls Hike, Girl WHo Travels the World

You can also explore the top of the falls ~ like this guy with his snorkel mask!

How to Get to Lower Lewis Falls Hike, Girl WHo Travels the World

Lower Lewis Falls hike is dog-friendly! Dogs who love the water will especially enjoy it ~ even those who just like to wade in, like Dylan ; )

How to Get to Lower Lewis Falls Hike!

Next up is the hike itself.  You don’t have to do it ~ but it isn’t super hard, is great for kids & dogs, & leads to another gorgeous pay-off at Upper Falls (aka Taitnapum Falls).  The Middle Falls I honestly don’t remember very well; my favorites were most definitely the Upper & Lower Falls. 

The trail is busiest in the beginning, near the campground & restrooms ~ but the crowds will thin about a mile into the hike.  You basically follow the river the entire way; choose to go “right” any time there’s a fork in the path.  About a mile in, you’ll come close to Road 90 (& probably hear cars).  No worries: this just means you’re on the right path. 

Next, you’ll drop down, away from the road, & cross a small bridge.  Look for “Middle Falls Trail,” & continue following it up-river.  After some twists & turns, you’ll come to “Upper Falls Viewpoint,” which I thought was beautiful in an entirely different, more forest-y way than the Lower Falls area.  You can climb around the falls & over rocks, so make sure you’re wearing good, slip-resistant shoes or water shoes.

How to Get to Lower Lewis Falls Hike, Girl WHo Travels the World

The Upper Falls, or Taitnapum Falls.

How to Get to Lower Lewis Falls Hike, Girl WHo Travels the World

Dogs can wade in at “Upper Falls” too..

How to Get to Lower Lewis Falls Hike, Girl WHo Travels the World

Climbing on rocks at Upper Falls.

How to Get to Lower Lewis Falls Hike, Girl WHo Travels the World

When you head back down to Lower Lewis Falls, make sure to check out the top of the falls….just not too close to the edge!

Get Prepared!

The top three things you need at Lower Lewis Falls are: 1) A cute swimsuit, 2) A Go Pro 6 (or waterproof camera) to capture all your waterfall fun, & 3) A lawn chair with drink-holders (for lounging at the base of the falls).

How to Get to Lower Lewis Falls Hike!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post on how to get to Lower Lewis Falls hike!  Here are a few more questions answered: can you cliff-jump at Lower Lewis Falls?  I’ve seen videos of (crazy) people doing it, but personally, I would 100% NOT DO IT!!!  WAY too risky.  Can you camp at Lower Lewis Falls?  YES!!  The campground is right at the start of the hike, & follows the trail for a ways up.  Can you swim at Lower Lewis Falls?  Yes, especially at the base of Lower Lewis Falls….so DON’T FORGET your suit!!

Happy Adventuring! 

xoxo Noelia 

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