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North Molalla River Trails Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Along Amanda's Trail, Molalla River Recreation Area (bobcat)
Cup lichen (Cladonia coccifera), Clifford's Crossing Trail (bobcat)
Old growth Douglas-fir, Clifford's Crossing Trail (bobcat)
The route described traced in red (bobcat) Courtesy: Bureau of Land Management

Contents

Description

A maze of trails and forest roads leads around the secondary mixed forest of the Molalla River Recreation Area, which is administered by the Bureau of Land Management. The area is open all year to hikers, horses, and mountain bikes, but the trails are closed to equestrians and bikes from October 15th through April 15th. For hikers, the best time to make use of this area might be on a rainy fall weekend after October 15th, when you might be the only users (Hunters are not allowed in this area). While there can be active logging operations throughout the year, this is done on weekdays and a good fall offers a variety of fungi popping up through the forest floor. There are many trails and roads and thus many options. This loop at the north end of the area makes use of old logging roads and single track trails.

From Amanda's Trailhead, head up an old roadway in a Douglas-fir plantation with western red-cedar, big-leaf maple, and sword fern. Reach the junction with the McBeth Loop and go right. After 30 yards, walk right off the road bed and reach an unsigned loop junction. Here, go right to begin this undulating loop in thickets of vine maple under Douglas-firs and western hemlocks. After coming up off a slope, skirt a small opening choked with blackberry and sword fern and reach a mossy road bed. Go left here and, in 30 yards, peel off to the left and finish the loop back at Amanda’s Trail.

Go right and cross little Trout Creek in its salmonberry thicket. The road bed rises under larger Douglas-firs. Cross a creek and reach the junction with the Leapfrog Loop. This trail rises up a slope in recently thinned Douglas-fir woods. Look for thatch ant nests among the brush pile burns. Skirt the edge of a very dense plantation on private property and, at a junction, go left and down the slope, sometimes dropping steeply, to reach Amanda’s Trail again.

Go right here and descend a ridge carpeted with salal. The trail sticks to the Recreation Area boundary here. There’s an overlook to the left. The view over the Molalla River valley and hills patched with clearcuts is partially blocked by Scots broom. Switchback down and join Looney’s Trail, where you go right to pass the junction with Clifford’s Crossing Trail. Switchback down four times and pass an old growth Douglas-fir before entering shady woods. There’s also a large cedar here. Reach the Hardy Creek Bridge, which spans the largest creek in the area. From here, Looney’s Trail rises and soon reaches the loop described in the South Molalla River Trails Loop Hike, so the bridge is good turnaround point.

Return to the Clifford’s Crossing Trail and drop to cross a small creek. Make two short switchbacks and cross a brushy talus slope with a lone old growth Douglas-fir. At a junction, turn left and head up to keep on Clifford’s Crossing Trail. The narrow path traverses up and then drops to an old road bed to reach the junction with Mark’s Trail. Go left here and rise into thinned woodland, then traverse to make three looping switchbacks in a carpet of salal. Reenter the thinned forest and reach Amanda’s Trail. Make a right on a grassy road bed, pass the junctions with the Leapfrog Loop and McBeth Loop, and return to the trailhead.


Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Trails closed to mountain bikes and horses October 15th - April 15th. Forest roads are open to all users all year.

Maps

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Mountain Biking Oregon: Northwest and Central Oregon by Lizann Dunegan
  • Kissing the Trail by John Zilly
  • Mountain Biking: Portland by Scott Rapp

More Links


Page 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.