Next time you make your way to East Lewis County, plan a side trip to a beautiful waterfall reached by an easy hike with a tremendous sight at trail's end.
Located in the northwest corner of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest just 10 miles from Randle on Forest Road 23, Camp Creek Falls is a 30-foot waterfall with a thunderous roar in early spring.
The hike isn't long at all — maybe 15 to 20 minutes tops with youngsters in tow — and gently ascends up a ridge shadowed by trees and gifted with the soundtrack of the nearby flowing Camp Creek. Before you know it, you'll hear the waterfall dominate the sounds of the forest and you'll see it right around the corner.
But hang on — just because the hike is short doesn't mean you shouldn't take some time and explore nature around you. The trail passes through a beautiful piece of land that lets you know you're in the middle of one of the most pristine stands of forest in the state.
Especially in early spring, the predominantly earthen tones of the forest will give way to lush greens as leaves sprout from their buds along tree branches everywhere, making March, April and May the best times to visit.
When you come to a T in the trail, take a left. Watch your step especially during or after rainy weather, and you can make it fairly close to the waterfall. Some have managed to hike below the trail, but we preach caution — only go where you feel comfortable.
Once there, enjoy the sights of the waterfall as it cascades in two sections onto an angled rock slab. The mist from the waterfall can prove refreshing on a warm day, and the overall ambience of the falls and the small canyon it forges is top-notch with its forested setting. Camp Creek Falls provides a peaceful yet powerful reminder of nature's power.
Make your trip back to the car and consider heading to the nearby Covel Creek Falls and Angel Falls, which are only about 4 miles away and make a perfect outdoor exploration trifecta for the day. Covel Creek Falls is one of two waterfalls in Lewis County that you can hike under, and since you're close anyway you'd be nearly crazy not to make the short hop over!
Bonus: The Forest Service does not require a Forest Pass during the wintertime in these areas either, so you're welcome to head on in and enjoy the trails.
How to get there: Take U.S. Highway 12 to Randle, then hit State Route 131 southbound. Take a left on Cispus Road and continue to follow it until you see a roadside sign on your left for the Camp Creek Falls Trail #260. A pullout to your right should provide ample parking for any size of vehicle.
Been there? Got any photos or trip reports? Head over to our Facebook page and let us know.