Under the Stars near Portland

Southern Washington Cascades: Lower Falls
  |  Gorp.com
Directions : Roughly 60 miles east of Woodland, Washington, and I-5. Take Wash. 503 to FS 90 and follow signs to Lower Falls Recreation Area.
Travel time : Approximately 2 hours.
Reservations : Yes. (877) 444-6777; www.reserveusa.com.
Fee : $12.
Open : Mid-May through Labor Day.

If you're a light sleeper, you might want to give this campground southeast of Mount St. Helens a miss. It's not that it attracts a particularly rowdy brand of camper, but the roar of the Lewis River's Lower Falls just might be more white noise than you really wanted this weekend.

Campsites at this medium-size campground are set beneath tall second-growth Doug firs and western red cedars on a big bend in the Lewis River. Of course, most of the sites are set back from the water, but there are a few that are fairly close to the river and these are always the most popular.

Stretching upstream and downstream from the campground is the Lewis River Trail, which extends for 15 miles along the riverbank. The most popular stretch of this trail is the 2-and-a-half-mile hike upstream from Lower Falls to Middle and Upper Falls. This trail is also open to mountain bikes and is one of the best rides in the state (just watch out for those steep drop-offs into the river). Kayakers also use this campground as a home base while paddling various stretches of the Lewis River (generally below the falls). Using this campground as a base, you can also make easy day trips to the south side of Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument and the Indian Heaven Wilderness.


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