Moulton Falls Trail at Hantwick TH to Bell’s Mt. Summit & Beyond

Hike Distance: 9.5 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 1692.1 miles

Elevation Gain: 2118 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 220781 feet

Went hiking with a trail friend, Marshall, that I met last week, and we had a great time.  We parked at the Moulton Falls Trail access point at Hantwick Road.  We took the Washington DNR roads up to the summit of Bells Mt. and enjoyed the pristine view of Mt. St. Helens!  The tip of Mt. Adams was visible but I had no good vew for a photo.  It was also nice to see these volcanoes capped in snow. 🙂

After summiting Bells Mt. we walked along some of the other roads and scoped out a view of Clark County, WA!  It was a remarkably clear day and the air was refreshing at out elevation.  Our 2100 foot elevation gain was rather easy, given that we were on a road and the grade was nice.

After we got back to our cars we decided to head out a bit on the Moulton Falls Trail, and turned around at a pond at the end of the asphalted trail segment.  Such a nice day and really appreciated the company!

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Rooster Rock State Park Hike

Hike Distance: 7.9 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 1682.6 miles

Elevation Gain: 1061 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 218663 feet

A nice change to visit Rooster Rock State Park and hike the trail system here.  The trail system is primarily in the woods on the south western part of the park, but you can walk along the beach on the eastern side of the park, which is primarily in the clothing-optional area.  Yes, you heard that right, there is a nude beach in this park, but nobody out there on this cool and cloudy day.

The main reason to hike the clothing-optional beach is that the best views of the Columbia River Gorge, and thus photos, are located here.  I personally have no objection to being here and it’s a very nice place to explore, for Columbia River Gorge and Windsurfing views.  I imagine that it’s mainly used, for that purpose, during the warmer summer months?

I first explored this beach area and then took one of the access trails into the southern treed area, which follows a ridgeline that parallels I84.  There are actually two trails on this ridge, and I hiked them both.  The ridge is primarily filled with deciduous trees and the trail was full of leaves.

I then started hiking parallel to the Columbia River (which is next to the very long parking lot) and veered off onto the beach, somewhere just past the ranger station.  The Columbia River was very low and I felt like I was hiking in the middle of the river.  A very weird feeling, but the views looking east and west were astounding.  There was only one person, with their dog, in this area.

I then headed back east on the beach and completed a loop on the beach, which I verified on my GPS.   My hike was primarily over at that point, and I headed back to my car.  Just when I got back to my car it started to rain.  I expected rain most of the day, but it didn’t come until the end of the hike. 🙂

This is an unusual hike in that the trail system is small, but there’s an enormous amount to investigate, especially if the river water level is low.  I would have liked to get closer to Rooster Rock but didn’t have time.  There’s also a couple of Disc Golf Courses here for those that enjoy that.  You do need an Oregon State Parks pass, but I purchase one every year since there are many parks to visit in this state.

Crown Zellerbach Trail Hike West from Pisgah TH

Hike Distance: 8.3 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 1674.7 miles

Elevation Gain: 484 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 217602 feet

We opted to hike a section of this long trail that was close to home.  The Pisgah TH is the first parking area west of Hwy 30 on the Scappoose-Vernonia Hwy.  It didn’t rain but was cloudy with a winter day atmosphere.  Only a few people on the trail, and just a wonderful day!

Washougal River Greenway Trail Hike

Hike Distance: 5.3 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 1666.4 miles

Elevation Gain: 456 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 217118 feet

Another very late start, and it turns out I was solo today.  I haven’t been here in a while and thought this short trail would at least get me out of the house.  I parked at the southern trailhead for Lacamas Park and then walked along NE 3rd Avenue to NE 3rd Loop Drive, where the Washougal River Greenway Trailhead begins.  There’s also a TH for this trail on SE Yale Street.

I took the trail down to a concrete boardwalk and took it across a large flood plain that is filled with tall grasses and deciduous trees.  You can find side trails in this area that take you to the Washougal River, which can be explored.  You can also see the long steel bridge that takes you over the Washougal River.  This bridge is very impressive, with some great views.

I walked over the bridge and then wound around the trail system past the Washougal River shore and many ponds.  This area is very scenic with plenty of photo ops. 🙂  The trail eventually comes out into an open area where the power lines cross overhead.  There are trails all over the grass field under the power lines.  There are also side trails that lead to the Washougal River, where you’ll find plenty of people fishing.

The trail ends on Yale Street, where there is another parking lot.  I turned around and headed back, but explored many of the trails around here.  If all you do is go from TH to TH on this greenway, then you’ll only get about 2.5-3 miles of walking.  The side trails can add miles, depending on what you explore!

Here’s where I need to get honest about this hike.  There is a huge subdivision being carved into the hills north of here, and the noise from the equipment breaking up the rock and ripping down trees is not my favorite.  Washougal has sold out this pristine area and is allowing 50+ very expensive homes to further destroy the higher terrain of this hillside in Washougal.  A gentleman I talked to gave me this info, and said this is why there has been three years of pounding noise in that area.  Now I know why I heard this on a previous hike.

Being a Saturday, there were plenty of people, of all ages, on the trail.  Please be aware that some of these people were shady, in my opinion.  I would recommend going with another person, but this is my opinion.  I definitely think this area is worth seeing, at least once.

Lastly, the train tracks are just south of this trail, and it can be a loud roar when they roll through.  I experienced at least two long trains coming through, and it was like thunder because of my location in the park.

That said, I still enjoyed this hike very much.  You may ask why I parked at the southern end of Lacamas Park, and it’s because I believe my car was safer.  Yes, I know that this all seems like overkill, but I like to minimize my chances of possible issues.  It’s only prudent.  Well, maybe the pictures below will help you make your mind up whether you intend on visiting?

Battleground Lake State Park Hike

Hike Distance: 7.4 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 1661.1 miles

Elevation Gain: 1087 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 216662 feet

I have got to stop getting out so late, given that sunset is so early.  In fact I was out on the trail when it was dark, which isn’t typical for me.  I find it tough getting out early during the late fall and winter months, but I can’t really have a decent length hike without leaving early!

I made this into a much longer hike than expected, and really wound around the trail system to achieve this.  The trails are turning muddy, with standing water, and I’ll soon need to start wearing boots to avoid wet feet.  I also started to once again notice the proliferation of Ivy in the park, and will need to start removing it from trees, when possible.  This means I’ll need to carry some tools, which is also a bit more difficult.

As the day wore on the fog rolled in and made for some amazing photos along the shore of Battleground Lake!  The mood was killer, and I took plenty of keeper photos. 🙂

Another highlight of the day was bumping into a gentleman called Marshall, who was also taking photos along the shoreline!  He has moved here, in the past year, from Tennessee, and we were discussing all the hiking opportunities in the area.  We discussed hooking up and sharing a trail in the future, which is exciting. 🙂

Definitely a worthwhile hike with plenty of good stuff happening.  I’m never disappointed when visiting this trail!