Spirit Falls on the Little White Salmon River Skamania County Washington.
In the previous edition of Curious Gorge I errantly gave directions down to Spirit Falls via a route crossing over a parcel of private land. This was a mistake and I regret the damage that I helped cause to the land owned by the Crow family. It was my error. When I first wrote about accessing Sprit Falls back in 2010 there really was no path at all down to the falls. However, since then there have developed a number of different footpaths, most of which illegally trespass down over the posted “no trespass” private Crow land. But, there is one path that goes down the rugged steep loose dangerous slope on land owned by Washington Fish and Wildlife, and then once it gets “beneath” the Crow property, this path then crosses onto the private land owned by SDS Lumber Company on which Spirit Falls sits. Thus, there is no completely legal way to access Spirit Falls, except that SDS is often kind and generous in letting visitors access some of their timber lands for recreational purposes. Currently their are no posted “no trespass” signs on the SDS property. The SDS property begins just as the footpath nears Spirit Falls, just before the tiny flowing creek that you need to step over. If you look uphill just before the creek you’ll see a yellow-signed “Witness Post” indicating the SDS land boundary. All access to Spirit Falls is thus contingent on the goodwill of SDS and can be restricted at ANY TIME! This means visitors need to be on their best behavior and to help others be on their best behavior too. No Smoking, no fires…of course no littering. Please pick up any trash left by the less conscientious.
I have personally met with the Crows and they are super nice and conscientious people. They have and have had legitimate concerns about visitors trespassing over their land. People were making all kinds of braided paths. Not only that, but people would often disrespect and “mouth off” to the Crows as if the visitor had some inalienable right to trespass to see Spirit Falls. I don’t blame the Crows at all for getting mad at some of the rude visitors they’ve had to put up with….and I take at least some of the blame for alerting the public to the existence of Spirit Falls. I’m personally embarrassed that I made the mistake of directing Curious Gorge readers down over the private property to the north of the semi-signposted Fish and Wildlife lands. Hopefully these maps will help eliminate future conflicts and hopefully SDS will continue its good-neighbor policies if visitors treat Spirit Falls and all the surrounding private land with the utmost respect.