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Average Gradient
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Days
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Most difficult rapid
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Distance
5.50 mi (8.85 km)
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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.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Fall

Parking Pass

General Day Use Fee

Pros

Great practice for harder runs. Spectacular scenery. Wide range of flows.

Cons

Popular on weekends.

Put-in location (lat, long coordinates)

Sunset Falls

Take-out location (lat, long coordinates)

Small parking lot on river right downstream from Horseshoe Falls

Address

NE Sunset Falls Rd
35201
Yacolt, WA 98675
United States

Features

Waterfalls
Wildlife

Overall difficulty

IV+
IV

Suitable for

Kayaks
Rafts

Location

Field Guide + Map

Nearby Adventures

Southwest Washington/Mount St. Helens, Washington
Washington, Southwest Washington/Mount St. Helens

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Southwest Washington/Mount St. Helens, Washington
Southwest Washington/Mount St. Helens, Washington
Southwest Washington/Mount St. Helens, Washington

Comments

04/25/2018
nice post and full of adventures. I like so much
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