Impounded by the 140 foot tall Cowlitz Falls Hydroelectric Dam, the reservoir known as Lake Scanewa brings canoeing, kayaking, fishing, and sightseeing opportunities to east Lewis County. Formed at the confluence of the Cispus and Cowlitz rivers, the reservoir has an average depth of 20 feet and covers a surface area of approximately 700 acres (volume: 65,000 a.f.). The lake offers a laidback experience for boaters who enjoy an 8 mph speed limit. Public boating access is available on the northwest side of the lake at the Cowlitz Falls Day Use Park, or about 5.3 river miles upstream on the Cowlitz River at the Cowlitz Falls Campground. Both sites offer aboat launch and dock.
Typically, the lake only fluctuates by about two feet (860 - 862 ft. MSL). During high river flows (>15,000 CFS at Randle Gauge), however, unplanned drawdowns may be required and temporarily force closure of public access. Planned or emergency maintenance may also force closure.
Cowlitz Falls Day Use Park
Located on Falls Road about 2.4 road miles from the Cowlitz Falls Hydroelectric Dam is the Cowlitz Falls Day Use Park. Positioned on the northwest side of the lake, it is one of two public access points to Lake Scanewa. There is no fee to use the Day use park. No overnight camping is allowed. For camping options, the nearby Cowlitz Falls Campground offers a scenic setting on the Cowlitz River just 5.4 road miles (5.3 miles by river) upstream of the Cowlitz Falls Day Use Park. Click to learn more about the Cowlitz Falls Day Use Park
The Day Use Park is also the site of the annual springtime kids fishing derby (14 years and younger). Click to learn more about the annual Fishing Derby.
Cowlitz Falls Campground
Cowlitz Falls Campground is seasonally open in the summer months. It is located at 889 Peters Road in Randle. Click to learn more about the Cowlitz Falls Campground.
Cowlitz Falls Downstream Fishing Access Area
For anglers that want to fish near the base of the Cowlitz Falls Hydroelectric Dam, or for visitors or photographers interested in viewing the dam, public access is available at the Project location (1379 Falls Rd, Randle). Do not proceed past any closed gates or signs that restrict public access. Public tours are not typically available at the dam. River conditions in this area can change rapidly due to dam operational changes. Always yield to the warning siren. When the siren sounds, move to higher ground.
Cispus River Rafter/Kayaking
The Cispus River is popular to rafter/kayakers for its many miles of continuous whitewater. At least three times per year, access known as “Open Gate Days” provides rafter/kayakers a developed take-out site that avoids the need to paddle across the reservoir to the Day Use Park. For more information on this site, visit the following link. Click here to learn more about the Copper Canyon Creek Take-Out Site
Packwood Community Ball Park
Packwood Community Ball Park is located on Silver Road at the intersection of Skate Creek Road in Packwood. Primarily a baseball field, the large open areas provide opportunities for other field games you may choose to play.