A notorious park but an easy hike

Here is the view looking off the Moulton Falls bridge into the water. It’s hard to tell how high up you are, but it is 60 feet. Kids dive from cliffs below the bridge, but they are only about 1/3 as high. This is the view that will be spoiled if the county installs fencing on the bridge to keep people jumping off it.

The bridge at Moulton Falls Park has been in the news lately because a girl pushed another girl off it, injuring her badly. If you could see how high up you are on the bridge and how small the area of deep water is underneath it, you would wonder why anyone would be foolhardy enough to jump off it, but people do and are hurt every year. The hike along the East Fork of the Lewis River in this park, though, is easy but beautiful, and I have hiked it many times.

The actual falls in Moulton Falls Park are Yacolt Falls, which are on the other side of the road from the main park. I will write up that short hike in another post.

This park can be confusing if you get off the main trail. There are a few maps posted along the way, but they are not frequent. Just keep in mind that the main trail from the main lot makes a loop around the river and then goes roughly straight along the river.

Moulton Falls Trail

Moulton Falls Regional Park near Yacolt, Washington

The main trails at Moulton Falls are wide a well kept.

Rating: Easy

Panting stops: 0-1

Length: 5.3 miles out and back

Elevation changes: 90 feet (probably from the main parking lot; from the upper lot, a bit more)

There are three parking areas for Moulton Falls. I parked at the upper lot at the junction of NE Railroad Avenue and NE Lucia Falls Road. From there, you can see paths going off to the north (right from the parking lot) and the south (left from the parking lot). If you take the path to the right, you will end up going across the road and taking some steps down to Yacolt Falls. I went left, where the path descends to a smooth, well-kept cinder trail. If you keep going straight rather than turning right when you meet the main path, you will cross the bridge and continue on your way as long as you want until you decide to turn around or arrive at the Hantwick trailhead.

The elevation changes on this hike are very slight, but parking at the upper lot means you will have to walk up the hill to the lot at the end of your hike. It’s at most a one-pant stop. If you want to avoid the hill, you can park in the main lot or the lot across the road.

How to get there

From Yacolt

Drive south on NE Railroad Avenue. Just at the junction of Sunset Falls Road is the first parking lot for Moulton Falls Park on the right. The upper lot is just after Sunset Falls Road on the left.

From Battle Ground or Vancouver

Take Washington 503 to Rock Creek Road and turn right. Rock Creek Road becomes NE 152nd Avenue and then Lucia Falls Road. The main parking lot for Moulton Falls is on the right shortly after you pass Lucia Falls. The upper lot is straight ahead at the point where the road curves 90 degrees to become NE Railroad Avenue.

Parking and Amenities

The infamous Moulton Falls bridge, where foolish people injure themselves frequently every summer by jumping off. Thanks to these people, the county is considering installing fencing, which will spoil the view from the bridge (the best view of the river in the area).

There are three parking lots for Moulton Falls Park at that side of the park (and one more at Hantwick). I provided instructions for parking at the upper lot, but the first lot you will come to from Battle Ground or Vancouver is the main parking lot. That lot is small and tends to get filled up. If it is, you can either go straight when the road curves around to Railroad Avenue and up to the upper lot, or you can make the turn onto Railroad and park on the other side of the road across from Sunset Falls Road. If you park across the road, be careful crossing it. The speed limit is only 35 there, but people speed through there all the time. There is a crosswalk where the path from that lot crosses to the park, but don’t count on drivers to stop for it.

If you park in the upper lot and turn right on your way down from the lot when you get to the main path, restrooms are on your right a short way down the path. If you park in the main lot, the restrooms are just off the main trail after you loop around over a small bridge. Along that part of the path there are also numerous access points to the river if you want to go swimming or sit on the rocks. Over the bridge, there are picnic areas off the main path to the right.