Lewis River Drainage 2012

Curly Creek, Lewis River Drainage Curly Creek, Lewis River Drainage
To put the cap on my trip to Oregon, I once again made the side trip to the Lewis River drainage on my way back home. If you recall my post from a year ago, my first visit to this area came with sunny skies. Forecasts for my return visit this year was showers so I was sure to have better conditions for waterfall and stream photography. My first stop was Curly Creek. I’ve been unsatisfied with my standard photo of the falls from its public viewpoint and I know there’s a way down to the base of the falls. My goal was to try and reach it.

My first thought was to hike alongside the margin of the Lewis River from a spot about 0.5 miles upstream. After some consideration on site, I decided to double back to a campground located along Curly Creek and attempt to parallel the hike to its base. Some waypaths existed around the campground and provided a start. There was a nice waterfall located next to the campground that I decided to photograph. The sun appeared just as I set up my gear; so much for those showers!

Curly Creek, Lewis River Drainage Lower Lewis Falls, Lewis River DrainageThere was one bonus that came with the sun- a low mist has hanging over the creek, upstream of the waterfall and it was now backlit thanks to the sunlight. After taking my share of photos, I packed up since I still had a ways to travel to reach the falls. The waypath I used would appear and disappear but the travel wasn’t as ornery as it could be (no devil’s club!). That’s not to say it was easy- I sweated a ton but did make it to the rim of the Lewis River. The final distance was the toughest and the sketchiest. I was so close- but I didn’t feel confident that I could descend safely. The only course of action was to turn back. After all, the waterfall will still be there!

Regrouped and refreshed back at my truck, I headed further up valley to the Lewis River waterfalls (which I never visited last year). On the way to the Lower Lewis Falls trailhead, I spied a few roadside attractions which I made mental notes of; I would try and visit them on my way back to I-5. Lower Lewis Falls is the largest of the three waterfalls on the Lewis River and the easiest to view. After parking, the viewpoint for the falls are a mere 100 yards away atop the high cliff. I didn’t stay long since the views are limited..

Lower Lewis Falls Detail, Lewis River Drainage Lewis River from along the Lewis River TrailMy last stop up valley was the Middle Lewis Falls trailhead. The waterfall isn’t very far (only a 0.5 mile hike upstream), and unlike Lower Lewis Falls, you can get fairly up close to Middle Lewis Falls. The river drops 33 feet and crashes into a broad piece of bedrock literally right next to the trail. It’s quite a powerful scene, especially in springtime when the river level is high. Those high river levels made the waterfall a solid wall of whitewater. Before calling it a day, I made a few stops at some locations that caught my eye while driving in. It was a nice end to a trip that had a rocky start!
Vine Maple and snag, Lewis River Drainage Unnamed Creek, Swift Reservoir Drainage