From the boat ramp at the put in, the action starts right away, with only flatwater for warm up. To scout the right side of Lava 1 you should paddle across the flatwater to river right and use the canal road. To scout the left side hike down river left were there is no trail. Make sure to scout all the way around the corner because below Lava 1 there is a long class IV rapid called "Cut Em Up".
The first drop is called S-Turn. It consists of a fun right to left airplane turn above a sticky hole. Make sure and have a clean line through S-Turn because Lava 1 is just below. During Summer flows(1000-2200 cfs), Lava 1 is usually run left of the island. There are two drops on the left side. The first drop should be run down the center, and to run the second drop you have to make a hard right to left move in order to avoid a nasty hydraulic called "Brads Butthole". During winter flows(400-1000 cfs), the right side of the island is a fast sloping drop into large hydraulic. From 400-800 cfs the hole is easily punched center, as long as you paddle fast and straght. Above 800 cfs the hole at the bottom becomes very sticky so it is best to enter the falls further left and stay left at the bottom.
Below Lava 1 there is a very continuous class IV rapid called Cut Em Up. This rapid flows for about a 1/4 mile before it reaches a large pool. If unfamiliar with the run you should scout this rapid all the way to the bottom because there are a few holes to avoid. For boaters familiar to this run, this section offers great eddy hopping and a few on the fly waves.
At the end of the pool below Cut Em Up is Lava 2. This drop can be and should be scouted from the canal road on river right. The beginning of the rapid is class IV+, at high water there are few eddies, and at low water this section can offer great eddy hopping. At all flows the line for this drop remains the same, although at high water it is very pushy and is always class V. On the right at the top of the drop is a large log filled sieve, so stay left. Once past that, move right to avoid the hole created by a 6 foot ledge. After the drop there is 100 yards of class IV read and run, but make sure to stay river right at the end of the canyon to avoid the river wide log. The take out is on river left shortly after you exit the canyon.
Lava Island falls is the final class V rapid in the Central Oregon Triple Crown of Kayaking, which also consists of Benham Falls, and Dillon Falls.