Portland Metropolitan, USA
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About The Waterfall
Moulton Falls Trail is an out-and-back hike along the Lewis River. The trail crosses a picturesque footbridge and then follows the Lewis River with the river to the right and a mossy cliff to the left. The wide hard-surfaced trail is mostly flat, making this a perfect year round hike for people of all ages.
This hike combines a peaceful stroll with a bit of adventure. After a short steep pitch down from the parking lot, the virtually flat trail allows you to cruise down the spacious path as fast or a slow as you like. For a side adventure, you can check out Big Tree Falls or climb the Bells Mountain Trail to a viewpoint.
The drive to the trailhead follows part of the Clark County Scenic Drive and is worth the trip alone. The road follows a particularly beautiful stretch of the Lewis River as it flows over volcanic rock formations. The smooth rocks and small pools make this a favorite summertime place for locals to swim and sun. The road also passes the not-to-be-missed Lucia Falls. It is definitely worth stopping and taking the short walk to view one of the region’s most scenic water features.
How To Get To Moulton Falls
From the parking lot, turn left at the trailhead sign and go down the slope towards the river. Partway down the hill, you will come to a junction with a path leading off to the right. You will go left for this hike, but this is a good place to take a side trip to the right and go see Moulton falls.
After you return to the trail, continue downhill to the arch bridge with its spectacular views of the Lewis River far below. On one side, the river flows through a narrow tree-lined canyon, and on the other side the river opens up to peacefully flow towards the falls. This is the best spot on the hike to take postcard-perfect pictures, so be sure to stop, enjoy the view, and take some photos.
Just after the crossing the bridge, you will come to two junctions to the right leading to picnic areas. Keep left and stay on the wide path that follows an old road grade along the river through a mixed forest of big leaf maples, alders, cedars and Douglas firs. Although there is a road across the river, it is mostly hidden from view with the river masking the road sounds.
A half mile from the trailhead, you will come to the Bells Mountain Trail. If you are feeling energetic, you may want to take a side excursion to a viewpoint 1.5 miles up the trail. This rigorous 1,000-foot climb will certainly earn you bragging rights if you decide to tackle it.
Our hike, however, continues on the main trail along the river. In about a mile, the path leaves the river to follow the Chelatche Prairie Railroad to a small lake with a picnic area on the far end. This is a pleasant spot for a snack or picnic and is the turnaround point for this hike. If you would like a longer hike or need toilet facilities, you can go a half mile further to the Hantwick Road trailhead. After you turn around, retrace your steps back to your car.
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. Otherwise, turn around and return to your car.
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