We started out on this hike intending to take a completely different trail, but when we got to the Yacolt Burn Trailhead, the signage and trail map confused us, and we ended up on the Tarbell Trail. It was a beautiful winter day, and although we had had some rain in the past week, the dirt trail was a little muddy but not too bad. We saw some great views of the Yacolt Burn State Park. Because of time constraints, we only did about two miles of this loop trail (and technically, it was closed for construction, which we didn’t notice until we got back), but we had a nice envigorating hike.
Tarbell and Thrillium Trail
Yacolt Burn State Forest near Yacolt, Washington
Difficulty: Middling to Moderate
Panting stops: 3 or 4 in the part we did
Distance: 6.9-mile loop
Elevation changes: 1,610 feet
Although this well-maintained but narrow dirt trail spends most of its time going up, it uses switchbacks, which are easier to handle than straight up, especially for me. At some point it goes down again, but we didn’t get to that part. We hiked on a beautiful winter day, and the only people we saw were two bikers at the trailhead. Although the trail is wooded for most of the way, we saw some nice views on the way up. This is definitely a trail I would like to go back to when I have more time. This trailhead is a starting place for several different trails, so we will be sure to return.
I was out of shape from not having hiked most of the last two months, but although I found the hike challenging, I was well able to do it.
Note that a Discover Pass is required for this trailhead, and there is no self-purchase machine. You can buy a Discover Pass at any Fred Meyer store as well as at Battle Ground Lake State Park.
How to get there
From Yacolt, Washington
Take N Railroad Avenue south out of Yacolt. Turn left on NE Sunset Falls Road just before Railroad Avenue turns right and becomes Lucia Falls Road. After two miles, turn right on NE Dole Valley Road. Take Dole Valley Road out about 4.5 miles. The road will change from paved to gravel. The trailhead is on your left just after you pass the sign for the Coldwater Creek campground.
From Vancouver, Washington
Take WA 503 north past Battle Ground for almost six miles. Turn right on NE Rock Creek Road, which becomes NE Lucia Falls Road. Lucia Falls Road ends where it turns north and becomes N Railroad Avenue. Turn onto N Railroad Avenue and almost immediately after, turn right on NE Sunset Falls Road. After two miles, turn right on NE Dole Valley Road. Take Dole Valley Road out about 4.5 miles. The road will change from paved to gravel. The trailhead is on your left just after you pass the sign for the Coldwater Creek campground.
Parking and Amenities
There is a parking lot at the trailhead for about 20 cars. There are also two restrooms. Just a bit up the trail, there is a picnic table. This trail begins next to the road on the same side of the road as the parking lot and is clearly marked Tarbell Trail.