So Much To See: Moulton Falls/Bells Mountain

Who doesn’t love Waterfalls?   In this week’s So Much to See Segment we check out some on the Washington side of the Gorge.

Almost every time I explore a new trail in the Pacific Northwest I say “this is the best one yet!”. That’s what happened when I checked out Moulton Falls in Yacolt, Washington. What a beautiful place!  The view and the roaring of the East Fork of the Lewis River are reasons to go back repeatedly.  I suggest getting there early enough to snag a picnic table right by the water.

If you want to go for a walk along the river, it’s pretty easy. The converted rails to trails grade goes for over two miles along the south bank of the river from Hantwick Road near Lucia Falls to the East Fork High Bridge. It’s a wide smooth gravel trail used by walkers, joggers and cyclists.

If you continue along the main trail along the river you’ll come to the Chelatche Prairie Railroad in about a mile, and you can have a picnic at the small lake there. It’s also the turnaround point for this hike. If you would like a longer hike or need a bathroom, go a half mile further to the Hantwick Road trail head.

Before you leave, be sure to cross Lucia Falls Road and follow the trail to Big Tree Falls. These impressive Niagra-like falls are the best of the three in the park. When the steel bridge just below the falls is open, you can get striking views of the water as it churns through a narrow chasm beneath you. If the bridge is open, you can turn your trek into a 1.7 mile loop.

NOW, if you REALLY want a hike, take the Bells Mountain Trail off the main trail. I did this because I love a good challenge! Wow! It’s quite the challenge too. A mile and a half up there are amazing view of Mt. Saint Helens, but be aware, that section is called a “butt burner”, but then it flattens out. It’s considered a moderate trail, but I literally felt like laying down on the trail at the top and not moving. I did feel pretty validated after I got home and looked it up on the AllTrails App. They said if you take this hike, pat yourself on the back when you’re done.


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