Lower Falls Campground is located in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Visitors enjoy several waterfalls in the area and access to the Lewis River Trail. The campground is open from May through October.
Near the campground are several trailheads that provide visitors with a variety of recreational opportunities. There are hiking trails, mountain bike trails, horse trails, and motorcycle trails within 10 miles of the campground.
The Lewis River contains rainbow, cutthroat, and bull trout as well as whitefish. The area is catch and release only.
Lower Falls Campground offers 43 standard sites that accommodate both tents and RVs (60 feet), but no hookups are available. Picnic tables and campfire rings with grills are provided, as are composting toilets and drinking water.
The campground is just off the Lewis River at an elevation of 1,300 feet. The campground road is paved and shaded by large evergreen trees. There are trails down to the Lewis River and falls area.
There are falls viewing opportunities at Lower Lewis River Falls, Curly Creek Falls, Big Creek Falls, and Middle Falls, all within 15 minutes of the campground.
Hiking trails within 10 miles include trail #31 Lewis River, Trail #5 Quartz Creek, and trail #80 Wright Meadows.
ADA Access: N
We loved our stay here! Our campsite (#6) was right next to the trailhead down to lower falls and the bathrooms so it was not the most private but we never thought it was an issue. Some sites are definitely more private than others. I would recommend booking in advance. While we got lucky getting a reservation only a few days before we arrived, the site is on the small side and was full the entire time we were there. Make sure to stop in Cougar or before for wood, there is none available onsite. Also, the water onsite was not working but we were prepared with our own.
This campground is located along what is possibly the best waterfalls in Washington state. There are three sets of falls all of which are beautiful, however the best is the lower one located next to the campground. There is a trail that runs along the river.
The route (FR 90) we drove in was terrible. It must have washed out over the winter or something. I was surprised the Bascamp made it, but that's what we bought it for. We noticed a couple folks missing back bumpers and poop tubes so we must have been lucky.
The campground is beautiful. We were is site 11 on the Lower Loop, right across the little paved road from the river and the trail. You could walk right down to the river. The hiking is spectacular! The pictures tell it all. It was busy, but quiet. No hook ups, no cell service. The website said there was water available, but it was not yet turned on as of June 5th when we were there. The composting toilets had the worst smell I have ever experienced in a vault toilet, don't stay downwind from them!
Even though we decided to go camping during a terrible storm the site was still great!
There’s also zero service, just FYI.
The campground has composting toilets and spacious sites. I would recommend reservations (far ahead of time) as the drive-up campsites Are hard to come by. That being said, this is a campground worth visiting. The falls are about 1/4 mile walk away and they are like something out of a Disney movie.. you can go behind them. There are people cliff jumping but be warned that we watched somebody be airlifted out after a jump gone wrong .. but the falls are climbable and there’s a beautiful swimming hole right under them. The 3 1/2 mile hike attached to the campground is great for families—mostly flat and you get to visit 3 more falls.
The namesake is a lovely waterfall you can hike around and swim at the base of. There are some very long and challenging hiking trails, and short easy ones. It’d be great in winter for snowshoeing. The campground has some basic facilities like water and pit toilets, plus the standard picnic table & firepit at each site. Tons of trees and shade (and bugs), as you’d expect in this area. There aren’t really views but the trees are very enjoyable. We’d return here.
Our visit was pretty much phenomenal. The camp sites are pretty evenly spaced out, most the people that were staying when we were there were extremely friendly, and just the right amount of sociable. The only issues we had were with people that staid before us and didn't leave the campsite better than they had found it (which I had thought up till now was common practice)
I got a little worried because we staid in camp 3, which someone had reviewed only 2 days before our reservation that there was a problem with mice. When we got there it was pretty late in the day, the campsite had no table which was slightly surprising (if not a little concerning), but camp 5 had two!? To make matters worse the people before us left a mess. they left garbage in the fire pit and a "Beware of Mice infestation" sign written on the back of a coke box. I get being worried about mice but…you're in the forest…it's their home not yours.
Either way, not having a table was going to be troublesome so we walked over and talked to the guests in camp 5 and they were nothing but kind. They said the tables were already there and offered to help us move one but the tables were too heavy for them and myself, so we went to talk to the host. Unfortunately I think the host had gone to bed for the night so we just made due. We decided that it was worth worrying about the following day, and for the moment to focus on camp setup.
In the morning to our delight, and surprise the host had already been notified and had already sent a team to get the table for us. The Forest service people were probably among the sweetest people we'd met. To me that's amazing service to get a table right when you wake up thinking you still have to tell someone about it, talk about an awesome start to the day!
We had a terrific experience. The only other real campsite issue we had was the water pump in lower loop didn't work and we couldn't get the one in upper loop to work either (I'm pretty sure we must've been doing something wrong with it but thankfully we brought a ton of water anyway because I always expect to have none). The toilets didn't smell nice but there wasn't a smothering smell, and there weren't that many flies for a compost toilet (At least not as many as expected based off the previous review). Honestly for a compost it toilet it wasnt at all as bad as I had anticipated.
There were mice, but they were the farthest thing from a problem. They did NOT get into any of our things, they did NOT climb over us in the night, they didn't even touch our tent. They were NOT a problem. If anything they were cute and kept their distance when we were about the campsite. We talked to some of the neighbors in the sites around us too and no one seemed to have any issues with mice so I think its fair to say as long as you're clean there's no issue!
I suppose my only real advice for anyone camping here (or anywhere out in the deep forest) is bring ammonia. you can get a big bottle for 2 bucks at target pour a smidge around where you keep your food and tent. I am used to camping in places like Yosemite and Ho national forest, where bears are prevalent. Ammonia deters MOST critters, including bears. This camp site doesn't have a problem with bears but there are no food lockers so its advisable to keep food locked up and put in your car at the end of the night. which is what we did and poured ammonia around the car (a safety paranoia quirk on my part). we had no issues with mice, no raccoons, no bears, no problem.
Overall the campsite was peaceful, and a great step away from society. We heard the falls at night, we heard owls when we were washing our dishes, and saw an eagle catch a mouse the morning we left. you might think pesky animals that are considered pests in the suburbs are a problem out in the wild, but if you're clean, nature will do its job. You just need to realize you're literally in the middle of the forest.
Will definitely be coming back for my birthday next year.
We have been coming here for over 20yrs. The last 8yrs things have changed. The compost toilets are unbearable. We were told this week that they are not being used as compost toilet anymore because of funding. It's literally so bad you can't breathe. The smell is so bad of ammonia that for about 30 mins after you leave the bathroom thats all you can smell as it stays with you that long. And there were so many flys coming out of the toilets my daughter cried because she didnt want to go in there. Also this year there is a huge mouse issue. We had our food locked up and they still got in our camper. We put a bucket out with a stick so we could relocate them away from our camp and in 2 days caught MORE than 50 mice- that was just in 1 site (we had 4 sites) Our neighbors had mice climbing on them in their bed and ended up awake all night. The camp host came by and yelled at them to be quiet because their kids kept screaming. It's made us seriously rethink coming back again next year. Lastly, up until about 5yrs ago it's been peaceful, now drunk people flock there and try jumping across the top of the falls. We've seen them fall in and have to hold on to logs so they don't go over the falls. They bring full size bbqs out at the top of the falls and party. It really sucks what social media and tv has done by advertising the "Hidden gems of Washington" it ruins special places for those of us who use this beautiful place to come and relax.
Amazing old growth forest and little waterfalls in the river, all of which you can explore from trails leaving from the campground. You can get to the more challenging Lewis River trail from the campground too, but watch out for mountain bikes. We were there in off season but I’m sure it’ll fill up in summer. Part of the road is dirt but our little sedan did ok. We were lucky other campers told us about a gas station a few miles up the road that also has camping supplies like firewood.
Campsites at Lower Falls campground are just a 7-10 minute walk to the falls and even shorter to the water. The campgrounds are spacious and well kept. There is a pump for potable water, there are no other sources of running water in the camp sites. The composting toilets are clean and well cared for. Great camping spot for day hikes or just fun at the falls. Spots fill up and the drive out here is long, make a reservation. This campsite is definitely on the remote side. There is no cell service for 13 miles. There is a great general store about 6 miles away.