FKT: Teri Smith, Deepa Bharatkumar, Kas Wang - Cathlapotle Trail of 8 Falls (Lewis River) - 2022-06-04

Route variation
Standard route
Gender category
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Total time
3h 51m 10s

The Lewis River Trail is one of the classics of the Pacific Northwest. Following the Lewis River (named Cathlapotle by the Chinook people - we honor this ancestral name in the FKT title), this gently rolling trail hugs the river as it winds past roaring waterfalls, old growth forest, and moss covered trees. Most visitors focus on the trail along the three falls - Upper, Middle and Lower - but the entire trail and the spur trail at the end add five more waterfalls to the list. Extremely runnable, I was surprised to learn there was no FKT established on this route, and especially surprised to not be able to find any Strava evidence that runners ever really go to Curly Creek or Miller Falls. 

This FKT attempt was all about establishing a baseline time. Because this would be a one way run, we recruited Karen Peterson to help us out and drive the shuttle as well as support us at the locations we could see her. Deepa Bharatkumar, Kas Wang and I set off at 8:50 am on a cool, humid morning, eager to see what the trail had in store. 

Our first log obstacles came early. With a higher level of snow than normal, logout crews are behind schedule, and most of this trail has yet to be cleared. We saw our crew at 2 miles, and then again at the Lower Falls campground for a cheer. The falls were rushing with more water than I have ever seen, and the miles through the core area clicked off where the logs had been cleared from the trail. We saw Karen again at the road road crossing at Crab Creek Trailhhead, getting our last bit of supplies before the 10 mile stretch to the finish. The logs came more frequently and we climbed up, over and around at least 50 logs, which slowed us down quite a bit. Just attempting this FKT after logout is complete will certainly lead to a new record.

The forest was gorgeous, however, and the rushing of the water, the bird song, and our conversation helped the miles go. Before we knew it, we were at the observation point for Miller Falls, the end point of this FKT route. Our time is not super fast, and we are excited to see what can be done on this trail, especially once it is clear.