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Moulton Falls Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Yacolt Falls on Big Tree Creek (bobcat)
Moulton Falls and the East Fork, Moulton Falls County Park (bobcat)
Upstream from the East Fork High Bridge, Moulton Falls County Park (bobcat)
Moulton Falls Station on the Chelatchie Prairie Railroad (bobcat)
Route of the Moulton Falls Hike (not a GPS track) (bobcat)
  • Start point: Hantwick Road TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Yacolt Falls
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: In and out
  • Distance: 5.9 miles
  • Elevation gain: 260 feet
  • High point: 595 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: All year
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No, except in the summer

Contents

Hike Description

A converted rails to trails grade runs for about 2 1/2 miles along the south bank of the East Fork Lewis River from Hantwick Road, near Lucia Falls to the East Fork High Bridge. This wide trail is used by walkers, joggers, and cyclists. You'll get great views of the East Fork and then, once in Moulton Falls County Park, visit a couple of small waterfalls - Moulton Falls and Yacolt Falls.

From the Hantwick Road Trailhead, set out on the flat, wide paved surface of the Murphy Grade. There’s a junction below the parking area where you need to go right. A sign with a good map says you're entering Moulton Falls Park. Hike into red alder, big-leaf maple, Douglas-fir woods and cross a creek on a wide footbridge. Blackberry, sword fern and thickets of salmonberry form the understory. The trail undulates slightly and the railroad runs to the left through the alders. Reach a picnic table and bench on the left at the first of a series of old logging ponds. The trail becomes gravel here. The railroad crosses a Keep Out trestle across the river, and now the East Fork Lewis River is directly below the trail, with homes on the opposite bank, all with steps and staircases down to the water. The path rises at a very gentle, hardly noticeable grade. Red-cedars, alders, Douglas-firs, and big-leaf maples line the river. Look for bald eagles, especially in the winter months. Reach the junction with the Moulton Falls-Bells Mountain Trail Junction and continue. Then Moulton Falls, all ten feet of it, appears below on the river. A trail leads down to the right making a loop around a picnic area. Reach the East Fork High Bridge over the East Fork Lewis River and get impressive views up and down the gorge. After the bridge, a trail right leads up into woods and to the Moulton Falls Upper Trailhead, which is closed in the winter.

Go left after crossing the bridge, and head down to a picnic area next to the river. Keep heading downriver, picking up the footpath that runs along Lucia Falls Road and which crosses a pedestrian walkway next to the road bridge over Big Tree Creek. This path continues along the road and past a house to the Moulton Falls Lower Trailhead. From the west end of the parking area, stone steps descend to rocks which give close-up views of Moulton Falls and the narrow chute below them. Return along the road to just before the bridge and go left on the pedestrian crossing.

A hiking trail heads up Big Tree Creek under Douglas-firs and hemlocks with a salal understory. The trail rises and then drops at a bend in the creek, heading on the level past some picnic tables. Reach a rocky outcrop and go up some stone steps and then down to the right to observe the Yacolt Falls, a two-tier waterfall - 28 feet above and 6 feet below - which are on Big Tree Creek, not Yacolt Creek. The swing bridge to the opposite bank is tied back for the winter. Yacolt Creek runs into Big Tree Creek above the falls. Take a path up to the Chelatchie Prairie Railroad and the Moulton Falls Station. In December, a Christmas train sometimes runs to here and there is a Santa Claus greeter with Christmas trees for sale.


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Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Best Hikes With Kids: Western Washington & the Cascades by Joan Burton

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Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.