Pothole Falls, Washington

Pothole Falls in October 2013

If you live in the Portland (Oregon) metropolitan area, you’ve obviously got a number of very impressively waterfalls to the east. But did you also know that there are some smaller waterfalls to the north, just across the Oregon/Washington state line? In the city of Camas, you can find Lacamas Park. It’s a very enjoyable park to hike around, even if you’re not planning on seeing any waterfalls. The terrain is relatively gentle, with only a few minor uphill portions.

I visited this in mid-October of this year, and it was probably the most pleasant weather I’ve experience in Portland. It was sunny and in the 60’s on both days. I don’t think that I had seen Mt. Hood on my previous two visits, which were in mid-Spring. Many of the leaves were beginning to change colors, so I couldn’t ask for anything better.

In Lacamas Park, there are three main waterfalls, and a smaller 3-4′ unnamed drop. Pothole Falls (aka The Potholes) is the first you would likely encounter. None of the signs scream out “The Potholes,” which might create some confusion as to the specific waterfall you’re visiting. Many signs point to the Lower Falls downstream. I had read that it was easy to view Pothole Falls, but found the opposite to be true (as you will see in the photograph). There was a rather steep trail down to the river, but you end up just behind the base of the falls, making it almost impossible to photograph up-close views. Maybe there’s some other path, but it wasn’t obvious what that safe path would be. (It was also suggested that it was more difficult to view Lower Falls, which again was the opposite case for me.) To get to the viewpoint in the picture, continue along the trail a short ways, and then look back. It’s relatively hard to miss if you’re on the correct trail.

Directions:

  1. From I-205, take WA-14 East toward Camas.
  2. Exit WA-14 onto 6th Avenue. Continue along 6th Avenue.
  3. Turn left onto NE Garfield Street (WA-500). You will veer left, and then turn right right, continuing on WA-500 (now known as NE Everett Street).
  4. There is a parking area on Everett Street, and there is also one just a short distance further up along NE 35th Avenue. The parking area on Everett Street is clearly signed, and ends up being an easier starting point. There is more parking at the 35th Avenue spot, but it is a little more difficult to determine where to begin. The park does have some of the best signs/maps I have seen, so follow the signs if in doubt.

Accessibility: 9/10 (easy)
Height: 20′
Length of Hike: 1 mile round-trip

Where in the World is Pothole Falls?

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