Looking a Little Closer at Lake Sylvia

A visit to Lake Sylvia State Park and finding it’s unique waterfall is a good reminder that you don’t always need to travel great distances to find natural wonder and beauty.

Lake Sylvia State Park

This park sets just behind the historic Montasano township. In fact, you drive through one of their charming neighborhoods directly into the park. Once inside the park, you would never know it. You might as well be miles up the Hamma Hamma River or Hoh River for all you can see of any rural development. You can see some of the historic structures that once made up the homestead here, however.

Michael F. Luark homesteaded at this lake in 1868 and the family built a water-powered sawmill, the first in Grays Harbor County. In 1909, a dam was constructed at the end of Lake Sylvia to provide hydro-electric power and water for Montesano.

The area around Lake Sylvia State Park is rich with logging lore and history. Huge, old-growth stumps are everywhere in the park. There is a giant wooden ball carved from a single log by a local logging legend. The story has it that the logger could stand atop the floating ball and walk it from one end of the lake to the other. I haven’t been able to find a name to go with the legend so take it with a grain of salt.

Logging ceased in the 1930s and the City of Montesano donated the land around Lake Sylvia to the State Parks Commission for conservation in 1936.

Today you can fish from the banks of the lake or use a small craft to fish directly on the lake. Gasoline powered engines are not allowed but apparently, electric motors are fine.

Sylvia Creek Falls

What really had my curiosity peaked was a reference to a Sylvia Creek Falls that was just beyond the dam on the creek which drains the lake. According to what I read it was hidden during the summer due to the leaf cover, and getting below the fall could be tricky as it was slick rock and mud.

Sure enough, I could see just the top of the fall but could find a  vantage point that showed more of the fall. Time to break out the climbing gear I had been assembling for just this kind of scenario. Ever since our canopy climb at Deception Pass I have been purchasing pieces of climbing gear so we could safely go after ‘that shot’.

We went downstream of the falls and repelled down to the streambed. A bit of bushwhacking back towards the fall was needed but once we got a clear shot of the fall it was all so worth the effect.

This has to be one of the most unusual falls I’ve seen in the Pacific Northwest. The water has dug out an impressive bowl in the sandstone resulting in what appears to be two falls. It’s rather hard to explain so I’ll just let the photos to the talking.

Perhaps in the fall or winter, you can see the fall without having to climb down to the stream-bed. Obviously, that option isn’t going to be open to everyone and I wouldn’t recommend trying it without some anchor gear.

A visit to Lake Sylvia State Park and finding it’s unique waterfall is a good reminder that you don’t always need to travel great distances to find natural wonder and beauty.

Member of the following

We are the learned society for geography and geographers.
as-seal-gr
Working to provide opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to make a difference as they play in the outdoors.
coasst-logo
Working to translate long-term monitoring into effective marine conservation solutions.
Sea Grant Washington
Provide integrated research, communication, and education to coastal communities that lead to the responsible use of the nation’s oceans.

Warning: Trying to access array offset on value of type null in /home/customer/www/xexplore.com/public_html/wp-content/plugins/fetch-tweets/include/class/utility/database/FetchTweets_DatabaseTable_ft_http_requests.php on line 196

Warning: Trying to access array offset on value of type null in /home/customer/www/xexplore.com/public_html/wp-content/plugins/fetch-tweets/include/class/utility/database/FetchTweets_DatabaseTable_ft_http_requests.php on line 197
Fetch Tweets: Invalid or expired token. Code: 89

Latest Instagram

Theresa is looking downstream at Murhat Falls. This waterfall is easy to drive to and an easy hike in the Olympic National Forest. ...

0 6

Skate Creek runs alongside Forest Road 52 in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. This was just one of the many photographic sites that can be accessed from the road. ...

0 1

Sunrise at Fort Flagler State Park ...

0 11

Murhut Falls and its pool are nestled in the Olympic National Forest, not far from Dosewallips State Park. ...

0 9

Mystery Bay on Marrowstone Island. ...

0 2

Winter storm making landfall just south of Cape Flattery. This part of the Pacific Northwest can see some powerful storms. ...

0 5

An unnamed creek and a small waterfall that you can find along the Steam Donkey Loop trail, which starts within the Dosewallips State Park of Washington ...

0 3

Footsteps and a sunset over the Pacific Ocean. ...

0 3

Early morning sunshine filtered through the trees and reflected off the upper portion of Murhut waterfall ...

0 5

Theresa sitting under Murhut Falls, enjoying the beauty of the forest. ...

0 5

Found this small dam in the hills behind our camp on Hood Canal. At one time, it appears to have been used by a homestead to hold water during the summer months. #washingtonstateparks ...

0 1

A photographer takes a photo and becomes the subject himself. ...

0 10

“How We Survived a Slight Derailment on Tower Rock” was published on our website. You'll find a gallery of all photographs in the article towards the bottom of the page. I'd love to hear your thoughts or comments. You can find our URL in the bio. ...

0 7

Low tide on Crescent Bay and reflections in the pools left behind. ...

0 1

Porter’s Creek Falls

It was such a beautiful day that we decided to make it a double. While researching the Lake Sylvia State Park, I had seen where there was a second waterfall in the nearby Capitol  State Forest. This was Porter Creek Falls which has its trailhead near its namesake campsite.

I’ve been curious about the Capital State Forest but had heard mixed reviews. It’s open to motorbikes and ATV’s and I’d heard it attracts more of a ‘Hook and Bullet” sort of crowd. As we parked near the trailhead I could see where people might come up with that analogy. But we had no issues with anyone and the ATV riders that I let pass me at the end of the day were very polite and waved their thanks as they overtook me. I’d have no issues returning or evening staying in the forest.

The hike out to the waterfalls is not overly difficult and can be managed by children. Unlike the earlier access, this was literally a walk in the park. Once we reached on point on the map where the falls were located it became apparent that there were actually two; one on each of the forks of the creek.

Sunny, green, and heavily wooded these falls are picturesque in their own way. Not the highest, widest or most water, but photo worthy just the same and the walk along the creek is worth every step.

Camp breakfast
One of the joys of camping is cooking outdoors. Pouched Eggs with avocado muffins to start the day.
Bushwhacking on Sylvia Creek
Just some of the bushwhacking on the creek bed we had to do to make your way to the falls.
Lake Sylvia
Early morning on Lake Slyvia. You can see the bridge which give access to the dam in the background.
Please share this:

More to explore

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.