Familiar trail, unfamiliar hike

Unfortunately, this is the edge of a logged area, so the foreground isn’t pretty, but the view is nice.

On Sunday, my family and I went on a leg of the Tarbell Trail further than we have gone before. I haven’t done much hiking the past nine months, ever since I got plantar fasciitis last summer, so this one was a tough one for me, because I was out of shape. It was mostly downhill at a gentle slope, through logged areas, wooded areas with some old forest and some newly planted forest, and meadows, and across several streams. We put cars at both ends of the hike and started at the Tarbell trailhead. Then we hiked down to the trailhead at the Rock Creek Horse Camp.

It was a beautiful day to be out, and we had a good time, even though I was so out of shape that I was very tired by the end of the hike. We only encountered three other people on the trail.

Tarbell Trail to Rock Creek Horse Camp

Yacolt Burn State Forest, Yacolt, WA

Distance: about three miles

Difficulty: moderate

Panting stops: 2 or 3

Elevation changes: about 1000 feet (150 feet up and the rest down)

Here’s Luke on the trail.

We have been on the Tarbell Trail before and even gone partway in this direction, but this time, we parked one car down in the Rock Creek Horse Camp and then drove up to the Tarbell trailhead. This allowed us about a three-mile hike of not too much difficulty, because it went downhill most of the way (up 150 feet at the beginning and then back down) at a nice, easy grade.

There is a short walk up from the trailhead to where the Tarbell divides one way to Rock Creek and the other way to Hidden Falls. However, we know that when you take the path to Rock Creek you come out very shortly on the road that the trailhead is on, so this time we just walked up the road, around the yellow gate, and came upon the trailhead on the right just a little way up the road.

At first, the trail traverses wide logged areas, so you have a view but the close-up landscape is ugly. However, it’s not too long before it reaches the first wooded area. From then on, it is mostly forested, sometimes with older growth and other times with newly planted trees. At one point, we estimated the trees at three years old and at another point at ten, so this area is constantly being logged and replanted.

Here is the final bridge over Rock Creek just before the trailhead.

There are a few uphill treks before reaching the highest elevation at 2000 feet, but none of them are difficult. Then the trail winds downhill for most of the way. It crosses several streams, all bridged. The path was sometimes muddy at this time of the year, but it wasn’t deep or sloppy. The makeup of the path is mostly dirt with some rocks in it, but sometimes it becomes a pleasant forest duff. Toward the Rock Creek End, the mountain bikers had cut it to quite a trench, which I personally found hard to walk on, but that stretch is only for a while.

The trail crosses several logging roads. For the most part, the trail is easy to pick up, but each time that it wasn’t directly across from us, it was down a way to the left.

The large bridge over Rock Creek is the indication that you are almost back to the trailhead and parking lot.

Although the footing was occasionally difficult either due to rocks or the trench that the bikers cut into the path, for the most part this is hike is only rated moderate because of the distance and the shape I was in when I took it. I definitely felt it the next day.

How to get to the Rock Creek Campground

From Yacolt

The first thing we did was drive to the Rock Creek Horse Camp to leave a car. Head south on SE Railroad Avenue. Just where the road is about to bend to the right is NE Sunset Falls Road on your left. Turn left. About two miles down, turn right on NE Dole Valley Road. There is an arrow on the left marking the road. Take Dole Valley road for almost ten miles. You will go over a one-lane bridge. Right before your turn, you see a sign that says the county road is ending. Then there is a sign for Rock Creek Campground. Turn left. Follow the road inside the campground to the right (it is one-way) until you get to the little parking area that marks the trailhead.

How to get to the Tarbell Trailhead

From Rock Creek Campground

Follow the road back around and out of the campground. Turn right onto Dole Valley Road. Go back up Dole Valley, over the one-lane bridge for about 2.4 miles, when you will go straight onto L-1100. This is an unpaved road in the State Forest. Take the L-1100 for 2.2 miles, and then turn right onto L-1210. The trailhead is visible from the L-1100 as you approach.

Parking and facilities

At Rock Creek Campground there is parking for four cars, and there is a restroom. Otherwise, there are camping facilities for horse campers and a few for people without horses. At the Tarbell trailhead, there is parking for up to six cars, a pit toilet, and a picnic table. Just a bit up the trail there are a few secluded areas with more picnic tables. The trail is for people, bikes, and horses, but no motorized vehicles are allowed. Dogs are supposed to be on a leash, although mine wasn’t.

A family hike above Dole Valley

Here is one of the views from the Tarbell Trail on the way to Hidden Falls.

This week, my hiking friend and I were joined by my niece and her two children. We decided to return to a place where we had hiked before, the Tarbell trailhead (before I started this blog, so that hike isn’t on it). The trailhead forks into two directions. The first time, we went towards Rock Creek Campground. This time, we decided to go toward Hidden Falls.

This is a long hike, rated moderate on AllTrails. We only went about two miles toward the falls and two miles back. Still, it is a beautiful hike, well up off the floor of Dole Valley, so that you can see really nice views.

Hidden Falls via Tarbell Trail

Yacolt Burn State Forest, Yacolt, Washington

Difficulty: Moderate

Panting stops: 3 or 4

Distance: 10.9 miles

Elevation changes: 1617 feet

We went up on a coolish but sunny day. The trailhead takes you to a fork, where you can go left for Hidden Falls or right toward Rock Creek Campground. We went left this time. The trail alternates between going through forest or through logged areas, some that have begun to grow back and some that are new. So, if it is sunny bring your hat. I kept taking mine off and putting it back on. We felt that it was unfortunate that they had logged right up to the path, but on the other hand, those areas were the ones most open to views.

My great nephew and niece on the giant rock.

Most of the trail on the way out is uphill, but not at a steep grade. Although the overall gain in elevation is quite a bit, it’s a long trail. The path is a narrow dirt one, sometimes rocky and other times carpeted in needles from the firs. We saw lots of wild irises and Oregon grape and other wildflowers during this late spring hike. We also saw lots of little wild roses that were about to bloom. A bit past the one-mile marker, we came to a giant rock, which the kids had fun climbing.

This hike was rated Moderate on AllTrails. So far, I have stayed away from Moderate hikes, as I sometimes have difficulty with Easy ones. I would agree on this rating just based on the length of the hike, if you want to go all the way, and the ultimate elevation change. That being said, since we took a shorter hike, I would rate it no harder than Middling. Of course, I can’t say whether the hike gets more difficult on the part we didn’t try.

This was one of the prettiest hikes we have taken right in our local area. We had a good time. Hiking on a weekday, we only met one other person on the trail.

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 2.5 miles. Make a left onto the L-1100, which is a forest road. After 2.2 miles, a road off to your right takes you to the trailhead, which is right around the corner.

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 about 2.5 miles. Make a left onto the L-1100, which is a forest road. After 2.2 miles, a road off to your right takes you to the trailhead, which is right around the corner.

Parking and Amenities

The parking lot for the trailhead has room for about five or six cars. There is a pit toilet at the trailhead, a picnic table, and a pump. On the path up to the trail, there are several secluded areas with more picnic tables. The path is for hikers, bikers, and horses. No motorized vehicles are allowed, but dogs are, on a leash.

Finding the trail we lost before

Cedar Creek with a little waterfall, the end of the line for this hike, although the Bells Mountain Trail continues over the bridge and goes more than 7 miles to Moulton Falls Park. I understand that this is a difficult hike. I haven’t tried it yet. My hiking partner’s friend came along with us and posed for this cute picture.

Last winter, I wrote about a hike we took in the Yacolt Burn where we ended up on the wrong trail because we couldn’t figure out where the trail was. The only map posted at the trailhead is one of the entire region, so it isn’t very useful. This week, we returned to the trailhead to look for the trail we planned to hike originally. The signage is confusing, because it clearly labels the entrance to the Tarbell trail but then has right-hand arrows for the other trails that could mean Take the Tarbell trail or Go across the road. My sister, during the original hike, thought our hike was down the Tarbell Trail, but actually, we needed to go across the road to pick up the Bells Mountain Trail. That’s what we did this time and found ourselves on the trail as soon as we crossed the road.

Bells Mountain Trail to Cedar Creek

Yacolt Burn State Forest near Yacolt, Washington

Difficulty: Middling

Panting stops: 3 or 4, all on the way back

Distance: about 4 miles out and back

Elevation changes: 606 feet

I’ll tell you right away the the AllTrails app shows the distance of this hike as 6.1 miles. We went all the way to Cedar Creek, and the distance was no more than 4 miles. It’s possible that the hike entered into the app goes beyond the creek, although it doesn’t sound like it from the name of the hike, but even with adding a short side trip to the Coldwater Creek Day Use area, we hiked at most four miles. We had no cell phone reception past a certain point, so we were unable to check where we were on the map in AllTrails to see if the intent was to go further. We stopped at the creek.

Here’s an idea of the views at the beginning of the hike and a glimpse of the dirt trail. Yes, it’s going up a bit here, but mostly it goes down on the way out.

The trail is a narrow dirt one that can be a little rough, but it is a relatively easy hike with the caveat that what goes down must go up. That is, the trail goes gradually down almost all the way out to the creek with just a few upward areas. That means that it goes gradually up all the way back and has the steepest grade at the end. That’s the only reason I rated it middling instead of easy. It is a good hike, though, and not at all difficult to do that last upward grade unless you get really tired.

The hike takes you through an open area that was logged a few years ago, but this area offers a nice view as well as some interesting fallen trees with huge but shallow root bases revealed. When we were there, someone had placed part of the skeleton of an animal on a stump, and we spotted lots of wild irises and other flowers on our late spring walk. If you’re going on a sunny day, you’ll need a hat for this part. Then you go into a forest the rest of the way, ending at a lovely little spot with a waterfall, bridge, and viewing platform. We took a side trip from there on the wheelchair accessible path back to the day use area. If you have accessibility issues, you can still see the waterfall by driving to the day use area and taking this trail, which is about 0.2 miles.

So, we had a nice hike, not too hard to do with nice scenery. We met no people on the entire hike.

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. The actual trail is across the road from the parking lot. There are two pit restrooms at the parking lot. If you take a side trip to the day use area when you get to the creek, there are picnic tables, a pump, and more pit restrooms.

Moulton on a gorgeous winter day

Here is a view of the river on this gorgeous day.

I have already posted about hikes on three different trails at Moulton Falls Park (or at least two of them were about approaching the same trail from two different trailheads), but this week my hiking friends and I went to Moulton Park after a particularly beautiful snowfall. I thought I’d just write a post showing my pictures and talking about our hike. You can see the actual details of the hike, with ratings, distances, and elevation changes, driving directions, and so on, on my previous post about the park.

It was very cold on Wednesday morning, and the upper lot was closed, so this is the first hike we have taken from the lower lot. When we arrived, only one other car was in the parking lot, but we still encountered many more people in the park than we usually do on a winter weekday, and by the time we returned to the car, the lot was half full. it was such a beautiful day.

If you look very closely into the middle of this picture, slightly to the right, you’ll see a shower of snow falling from the trees down to the river. This is a view from the middle of the bridge over the river.

The sun was shining, the Lewis River was high, and snow was showering down from the laden treetops into the water. People were in a good mood and several stopped to remark about how happy they were to have come out. We walked all the way from the lower lot to the Hantwick trailhead and back, a distance we had so far not achieved before, about 5 to 6 miles. (The official sites on the walk say it is 2.4 miles one way, but we noticed that the sign that mentioned that distance was already partway along the trail, at the opening to the Bells Mountain Trail. I would guess there was another quarter to half mile more to the parking lot.)

Because the trails are easy and so well kept, the only slippery parts we encountered were the surfaces of the two wooden bridges, and they still had fairly good traction. You just had to take care. If you don’t park in the upper lot, you don’t even have to deal with the slope back and forth from the parking lot.

This is a lovely hike to take on a winter day. There are no very steep hills, the paths are either paved or cinder, and the views are lovely.

 

A good trail to find when you’re lost

I took this picture of the path from a switchback above it. You can get a glimpse of the path in the middle of the photo.

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

The view is almost always obscured by a few trees, but it is a nice one nevertheless.

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.

Where are the falls at Moulton Falls Park?

Yacolt Falls, at the far end of Moulton Falls Regional Park. The bridge that you cross at the base of these falls is hidden in this picture.

This is actually a question I have had asked me when I’ve been hiking in Moulton Falls Regional Park. Because it is near to my house, I had visited the park many times before I realized that I hadn’t seen any falls. If you look at the map of the park, you can see that they consider the smallish cataracts near the main entrance to the park to be falls, but to my mind they are not. So, it was with surprise that I found, when I went hiking with a different person, that there actually are some real falls in the park, Yacolt Falls.

This hike isn’t really very long. In fact, I don’t have anything but guesses as to how long it may be. However, it has some ups and downs in the form of stairs that you go down to view the falls and then go back up on the other side. These are old blocks of stone, and some of them are rather high, so if you hike with sticks, I suggest you bring them along.

Yacolt Falls Trail

Moulton Falls Regional Park near Yacolt, Washington

Difficulty: Middling

Panting stops: 0

Distance: 0.5 mile loop or shorter (this is just a guess)

Elevation changes: maybe 50 feet

This trail is one of several hikes in the large and pleasant Moulton Falls Regional Park. There are a couple of different ways to get to the trail. My instructions are from the upper parking lot of the main entrance to the park. You can also get there from the parking lot across the road from the intersection of Railroad Avenue with Sunset Falls Road.

From the upper lot, take the rightmost trail, the one that seems to lead back to the road. In fact it does. After a short descent, you end up at a crosswalk on Lucia Falls Road. Cross the road, being very careful, because even though the speed limit is slow there, many people speed through the area, and pick up the trail on the other side.

After a short walk down the dirt path, you will come to a set of stone steps leading down to a bridge at the base of the water fall. This looks like perhaps it is the oldest area of the park, as the stone steps are obviously old. Walk down the steps and cross the bridge for a beautiful view of the falls.

Walk back up the other side. From here until you cross to the other parking lot, the path is narrow and a little overgrown. It goes through an ancient picnic area and along a creek, and then back to the road at a different place. Cross back over the road and turn left to return to where you started. The path up to the parking area is to your left just after you cross the small bridge and pass the restrooms. Alternatively, you can explore the rest of Moulton Falls Park.

Again, this path is a little rougher because it is not used as often as the main part of the park. The stone staircase has steps with a higher rise than a regular staircase, and at one place where you are descending on the other side of the falls to the path, there is an extra long step where I definitely needed my sticks. The stairs and long steps are the only reason I rated this path “midding.” Otherwise, it is very short and easy.

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 upper parking lot has space for about a dozen to twenty cars.  The part of the park by the falls has only a few old picnic tables. However, once you cross the road back to the main park, there are restrooms, picnic areas, and access points to the Lewis River.

In search of leaping salmon

The fall colors at Lucia Falls. You can see the falls in the right background.

One of my hiking friends suggested we go to Lucia Falls for our hike this week. I wouldn’t normally consider Lucia Falls for a hike, because the trail isn’t very long, but going to the park to do more than look at the falls showed me a few fine features of this beautiful regional park. The reason my friend wanted to go to Lucia is because she had seen people posting pictures of migrating salmon jumping up the falls just in the last few weeks. We didn’t see any fish, but we did get a better opportunity to explore the park.

Lucia Falls Trail

Difficulty: Easy peasy

Panting stops: 0

Distance: 0.5-1 mile loop (depending which source you look at), with options to go farther

Elevation changes: 16 feet

Lucia Falls

Lucia Falls is a pleasant little regional park wedged between NE Lucia Falls Road and the Lewis River. I have only ever walked down the path to the falls before, but this time we explored the park more thoroughly. It features a short loop with a few beautiful views of the river and the waterfall. It is more like a cataract, but if you’re lucky, you can see the salmon running. I saw a salmon my very first time at the park. The trail is a well-kept cinder or dirt path.

Rock formations along the Lewis River

The loop is straightforward to the east of the parking lot. However, once you walk back a way, there is an offshoot of the trail that allows you to walk a short distance down Hantwick Road and across the railroad tracks to the Hantwick trailhead of Moulton Falls Park. So, this trail can be a nice easy start, with beautiful views, of a much longer hike, if you wish.

You can add to your explorations of Lucia Falls Park itself if you take the other path from the west side of the parking lot. It takes you down along the river. It takes you to a point where you have a choice of two directions. If you go one way, you come out at another access to the main road. If you go the other way, you find a small viewing platform over the water with a picnic table.

How to get there

Lucia Falls Regional Park, Yacolt, Washington

From Yacolt

Drive south on NE Railroad Avenue. Just after the junction of Sunset Falls Road, the road curves ninety degrees and becomes NE Lucia Falls Road. Follow the road past the entrances to Moulton Park. About a mile down the road, you will come to NE Hantwick Road on your left. Just after Hantwick Road, you’ll see the park on your 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. Lucia Falls is on your right a mile or so after the stop sign.

Parking and Amenities

Lucia Falls Park has a large parking lot with room for perhaps 20 or 30 cars. Restrooms are available in season and a porta-potty out of season. The park also has a few picnic tables.

Another way into Moulton

This nice paved path takes you about a mile down the route, later changing to a cinder track.

The Hantwick trailhead for Moulton Park is a good one because it has plenty of parking yet is not as popular and crowded as the other areas of the park can be. Its nice paved path slopes gently down from the parking lot and eventually follows the river, where it becomes a cinder path. You can take the path all the way to the other end of Moulton if you like or walk as far as you want. Although the path to the park from the upper lot is a little steep, there are no steep stretches from this end of the park.

Moulton Falls Trail—Hantwick Trailhead

You will pass this pretty pond before you get to the river.

Moulton Falls Regional Park near Yacolt, Washington

Rating: Easy peasy

Panting stops: 0

Length: 5.2 miles out and back

Elevation changes: 90 feet

The drive to the Hantwick trailhead takes you off the busy road and railroad track that run along the park by the other entrances. It takes a pleasant windy road back across the Lewis River and the tracks. You end up in a large parking lot that is above the trail. Walk down the nicely kept paved track into the park, where you will briefly follow the railroad tracks, pass a pretty pond, and eventually come to the river.

You do have to walk back up to the parking lot at the end of the hike, but it is a gentle climb. This end of the park offers views of the river and the houses across the river from the park. If you follow the path to the other end of the park, there is water access.

If you go all the way to the end of the park by the main road and cross the highway, you will see some beautiful falls.

How to get there

From Yacolt

Drive south on NE Railroad Avenue. Just after the junction of Sunset Falls Road, the road curves ninety degrees and becomes NE Lucia Falls Road. Follow the road past the other entrances to Moulton Park. About a mile down the road, you will come to NE Hantwick Road on your left. It is a hairpin turn. Take Hantwick Road down across the river. Just after it crosses the railroad track, the parking lot for the trailhead is on your 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. Just after you pass Lucia Falls, you will see NE Hantwick Road on your right. Take Hantwick Road down across the river. Just after it crosses the railroad track, the parking lot for the trailhead is on your left.

Parking and Amenities

There is a large parking lot at the trailhead and a porta-potty. At the other end of the park is a restroom facility. There are picnic tables throughout the park with a nice one at the Hantwick end of the trail. Technically, you’re not supposed to go swimming in the park, but there is access to the river at the other end of the trail, and people do go swimming.

 

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.

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started