Trail Guide: Curly Creek Falls Trail, Gifford Pinchot National Forest - Washington

This week we kicked off our first hike of the Summer Trail Dog Challenge with a hike in Gifford Pinchot National Forest! As a warm up to our long season of hiking, and to stay below the low looming snow line, we opted to hike Curly Creek Falls Trail!

Trail Stats:

Name: Curly Creek Falls (#31)
Location: Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Skamania County, Washington
Length: 0.4 miles, roundtrip
Highest Elevation: 1285 feet
Difficulty: Novice, ADA Accessible

Getting There:

Take Exit 21 off of I-5 and proceed on State Route 503 East through Woodland, Washington. Continue on 503 East for 29 miles to Cougar, Washington before continuing on to Forest Road 90. Continue on for approximately 18.5 miles, until you see the Pine Creek Information Center. Immediately after passing the Information Center on the left, bear right onto FR 90 as it crosses the Lewis River. Drive for just over 5 miles and then take a left onto FR 9039, continuing on about a mile until you see the Trailhead to your left.


It was a very warm weekend for the beginning of summer, but very pleasant and a little humid on the trail as it was so near the water. Parking was easy, even though there were several cars in the lot. We did run into several other groups along the trails and several dogs, including a few off-leash rascals. There is a privy near the trailhead, which was in good condition. The trail is wide, dry, and smooth, a dream for ADA folks and would be very easy for even the most novice of hikers could enjoy.


This short hike is really more of a walk, but allows for incredible views of the little-known Curly Creek Falls, an 86-foot waterfall with two arches spanning the tiered drops. There are several man-made viewpoints that provide amazing views of the falls, the first of the larger Curly Creek Falls, the second of the smaller Miller Falls. The falls are best viewed in late spring and early summer, when water levels are at their peak. These viewpoints are framed by the beautiful, lush Western Hemlock Forest that makes up this portion of the park. For hikers desiring a longer hike, consider meeting up to the nearby Lewis River Trail for even more views and an even closer view of the rushing waters.

The Verdict:

If you're looking for an extraordinarily easy hike with an incredible view, this is your trail! It's honestly more of a walk than a hike, but it would be great for the less outdoorsy folks, or families with small children and non-hiking pups. We opted to extend our hike up part of the Lewis River Trail and had an amazing time! We're looking forward to going back and hiking the whole stretch.

Looking for more information on the Curly Creek Falls? 

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