On the drive to Moulton Falls Regional Park — about 50 minutes from Portland — you’re treated to picturesque views of Mount St. Helens and the East Fork Lewis River. Exploring the surrounding old growth forest is enchanting regardless of the season, but taking a dip in the swimming hole above the falls is a summertime delight.
- Starting point: Moulton Falls Regional Park, 27781 NE Lucia Falls Rd., Yacolt
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Distance: 5.2 miles
- Route type: Out-and-back
- Elevation gain: 90 ft
- Trail surface: Asphalt + hardpack dirt/gravel
- Wheelchair accessible: Yes
- Open: 7 a.m. to dusk, year round
- Dog friendly: Yes, leashed
Moulton Falls is named for a mill owner who scavenged fallen timbers from the Yacolt Burn in 1902. The main attraction is a short walk upstream from the parking lot, where the trees open to reveal an arched footbridge, perched 54 ft high in the canyon. From its lofty vantage point, you can see the river meander through basalt cliffs, remnants of the area’s volcanic past.
Why you should try it
For most Portlanders, Moulton Falls Trail is a bit of a hidden gem + offers a chance to enjoy birding, hiking, and horseback riding in a less-familiar setting, plus there’s no parking fee. At the trail’s terminus, you’ll find a pond with picnic tables perfect for lunch (and wildlife viewing). The arduous Bells Mountain Trail also branches off and climbs 1,000 ft + 1.5 miles to a viewpoint.
On the way back home, stop at neighboring Lucia Falls Regional Park to view leaping steelhead as they navigate to their spawning grounds. In nearby Yacolt, the Chelatchie Prairie Railroad offers scenic train excursions through the region.
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