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East Fork of the Lewis River

Southwest Washington/Mount St. Helens, Washington

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East Fork of the Lewis River

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  • High-ish water center line at Sunset falls. It's a late boof!- East Fork of the Lewis River
  • Right line at high-ish flows makes for a spinning raft. Good times.- East Fork of the Lewis River
  • When the boof happens, glory shines down on all. - East Fork of the Lewis River
  • The 'flat' water is cruisy.- East Fork of the Lewis River
  • Screeming Left delivers some whiteout in the right channel at medium-high flows.- East Fork of the Lewis River
  • Deep gorges and clear water make Susan a happy girl. - East Fork of the Lewis River
  • At low water, Sunset Falls has a more technical lip but a great auto-boof.- East Fork of the Lewis River
  • Looking downstream into the gorge.- East Fork of the Lewis River
  • Smiles all day long on the East Fork of the Lewis. - East Fork of the Lewis River
  • - East Fork of the Lewis River
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Great practice for harder runs. Spectacular scenery. Wide range of flows.
Cons: 
Popular on weekends.
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Region:
Southwest Washington/Mount St. Helens, WA
Overall difficulty: 
IV+
IV
Parking Pass: 
General Day Use Fee
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Fall
Put-in location (lat, long coordinates): 
Sunset Falls
Suitable for:
Kayaks, Rafts
Take-out location (lat, long coordinates): 
Small parking lot on river right downstream from Horseshoe Falls
Total Distance: 
5.50 mi (8.85 km)
Current Local Weather:

Notable Hazards + River Information

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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Contributor

Flowing from the flanks of Mount St. Helens, the crisp, blue water of the East Fork of the Lewis River create a whitewater playground in an enchanting canyon.  The waterfall section, a class III-IV kayak and raft run, has helped many intermediate kayakers refine their skills for the steeper Pacific Northwest rivers.  Even when the water levels are low, the canyon’s lush vegetation and narrow gorges attract local kayakers who are looking to escape into southwest Washington’s beautiful wilderness.

Starting on a high note, a plunge off of Sunset Falls begins the stretch.  Often kayakers hike boats back up to the top to make several laps off of this straightforward waterfall, trying new lines or alternate techniques.  Sunset Falls is often the first waterfall people run, both in a kayak and in a raft.  Rapids downstream are generally class II-III, until the gorge narrows at the top of Screaming Left.  A scout on the left is recommended for first-timers.  This rapid can be run right or left, each with very different maneuvers. Just below Screaming Left lies the next drop, Dragon’s Back, followed by a large old-growth tree wedged between the narrow canyon walls at the end of this classic set of moves. Many find themselves high-fiving after displaying finesse and precision, or swimming to catch gear after faltering and aborting.  If you find yourself in the latter situation, get to shore quickly to prevent a swim over the next drop, John’s Swimming Hole.

Several miles downstream, Horseshoe Falls makes for a spectacular finale to this classic whitewater run.  With both mellow and scary lines, everyone can find a thrill on this last waterfall.

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Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + River Map

Field Guide + River Map

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(12 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(148 within a 30 mile radius)

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