Now that the long, dark and dreary days of winter have ended and the warm, spring showers have returned, the Pacific Northwest is transforming into a natural wonderland. Each day that passes gives us longer daylight hours, helping to melt the heavy snowpack on our mountains and filling our rivers and creeks throughout the region. With the increase in water, our breathtaking waterfalls come alive, altered into raging torrents of hydrological power and beauty.
While many will stay indoors until the rain-free summer months, those who do take a jaunt to the great outdoors will be rewarded with stunning scenes of cascading water along some of the most pristine and gorgeous rivers around. In Lewis County, there are dozens of incredible waterfalls to visit and explore, but six stand out as must-see destinations in the spring months.
Most of these waterfalls are along family-friendly trails just a short drive from many points in Lewis County. The waterfalls of Lewis County are yet another reason why we love living here, and make fantastic destinations to spend a day out in the wonderful wilds of our backyard. These six waterfalls will surely encourage a more active and scenic lifestyle.
Considered to be one of the most photogenic waterfalls in Southwest Washington,is a great family-friendly destination near Riffe Lake. Located along the Goat Creek Trail, Cathedral Falls is a stunning waterfall with a great payoff. After hiking along the well-maintained trail, you quickly reach the falls, which tumble down 248 feet in just one large drop. The falls are best seen before the end of June, as the cascading waters are reduced to a trickle in the summer months. What makes this area great is the accessibility of the falls, letting you walk behind the falls thanks to a deep undercut along the Goat Creek Trail.
Covel Creek and Angel Falls
Starting at the Cispus Environmental Learning Center, the Angel Falls Loop Trail is one of the more classic destinations for outdoor adventures in Lewis County. Following the 3.4-mile, roundtrip trek, two breathtaking waterfalls are easily reached, making for an ideal family-friendly adventure. Gaining just 300 feet, the trail is easy to follow and rewards those who hike it with fantastic waterfall experiences. While Angel Falls is gorgeous, the highlight for most will be walking behind the falling water at Covel Creek. Falling 75 feet straight down, is best seen during the spring runoff months.
One of the prettiest accessible waterfalls in Mount Rainier National Park, Narada Falls is accessed via a short, paved trail from a well-established parking area. While gorgeous all year round, the 176-foot waterfall is a veil-style waterfall, spreading over the exposed basalt rocks up to 75 feet in width during spring runoff. The falls are popular, thanks it the location right next to the road, and is a perfect stop for every trip into the park. For those hoping for some more miles, you canfor a fun and scenic five-mile loop that is a perfect way to spend a day at Mount Rainier National Park.
Along the eastern side of the county, on the Ohanapecosh River,is a waterfall destination that should never be skipped. Considered to be the most gorgeous river in Mount Rainier National Park, hiking along the Ohanapecosh is as pure and pristine as it gets along a family-friendly trail. Working its way next to the river, the easy-to-follow trail passes through stunning forests before reaching the breathtaking waterfall known as Silver Falls. Falling a total of 95 feet, with the largest plunge coming in at 40 feet, this waterfall is extremely picturesque and beautiful. Please stay on the trail while looking at this and all waterfalls, as the spray from the water makes the rocks and unofficial paths extremely slick and treacherous.
Falling 120 feet, thealong the University of Washington Pack Forests Trail System is one of those waterfalls that is best seen during the run-off months of the spring. While great any time of year, the raging torrent of water during the snowmelt makes this waterfall a must see, becoming a wall of falling water. At 5.3 miles in length, the hike to get to this waterfall, which is technically in Pierce County, passes by numerous smaller falls on the way to this breathtaking destination. While considered family-friendly, the terrain can be a bit difficult for younger children.
While also in Pierce County,is one of the quintessential hikes in Mount Rainier National Park and easily accessible from Lewis County. Reached along a 3.8-mile round trip hike that gains nearly 1,000 feet, the waterfall plunges over 300 feet down, often forming rainbows as the spring sun hits the spray. In the early spring, the trail will be snowy, requiring trekking poles and micro-spikes to reach. However, if the weather is nice and the trail is open, this waterfall should be seen during the spring months, as the melting snows make this a breathtaking destination. This hike is probably not a great one for young children, but it is a great destination and trail to introduce older kids to the beauty of Mount Rainier.