Lower Falls Recreation Area- Overcrowding and Access is a Challenge

Release Date: Jul 27, 2018

If visitors are looking for a peaceful place to hike or view a waterfall, the Lower Falls Recreation Area on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest may not be the best choice.  This summer, there has been a sharp increase in the number of recreationists traveling to the area, especially in the recent hot weather.  The area is extremely overcrowded on weekends, and there’s very limited parking at the site. 

Increased amounts of trash littering the recreation site, eroded trails, trampled vegetation, and impeded emergency access are some of the impacts occurring because of the large number of visitors and overflow parking on the roadside.  Visitors can help lessen impacts by choosing another area on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest to visit, or by making the trip to the Lower Falls Recreation Area on weekdays.

Access to the area is also challenging due to an active slide on Forest Road 90 at Crab Creek, near the Lower Falls Recreation Area.  The slide area creates a deep slump in the road in which many passenger cars have gotten stuck in recent days.  The high level of traffic on the road has made the problem worse, and driving across the slide area is now recommended for high clearance vehicles only.  Trailers or Recreational Vehicles should not attempt to pass through the slide area.  To avoid the slide area, visitors can reach the Lewis River through Trout Lake to Forest Road 23 and west on Forest Road 90.  The Forest Service continues to work on the slide area to improve passage, but it will take time to develop a lasting solution.

There are many other places to view waterfalls along the Lewis River.  Consider Twin Falls, Upper Falls, Middle Falls, and Taitnapum Falls on the east side of the slide area, or Curly Creek falls on the west side of the slide area.  Sunset Falls is also another good option.  Please be cautious if going near the water.  Slippery rocks, unsuspecting currents, and cold water temperatures are a few hazards that could be encountered.  Always keep a close watch on children, even if they are far from the water.

Find the latest road and recreation information here.