If you’ve never seen Lava Creek Falls you’re not alone. These falls are known to waterfall experts and kayakers who kayak the Clear Fork of the Cowlitz River down to its confluence with the Ohanapecosh. Those who have kayaked the route classify it as a Class V to V+ which is just about as gnarly as one could get. The first drop is known as the “Entrance Exam” by seasoned kayakers and it only gets more challenging from there. For the rest of us, the waterfall can be viewed from US 12 from a pullout though it is not designated as such.
The waterfall is more than worthy of a stop. Lava Creek Falls is spectacular to behold (photographers will need a big lens to capture its magnificence). The horsetail fall is 250 feet tall and about 40 feet wide; the tallest drop is 225 feet.
Height: 250 ft. | Form: Horsetail | Number of Drops: 2
Source Stream: Cowlitz River | Access: Easy/Roadside Access
Viewpoint: 46.671111 N, -121.508333 W
Directions: From Packwood head east on US 12 and at its junction with Highway 123 continue about 5 miles on US 12 to a pullout on the right-hand side of the road (unsigned) where the waterfall can be seen. Getting to the base of the waterfall involves a ford of the Clear Fork of the Cowlitz River and is not recommended.