The Lowdown on Bells Mountain TrailThe 7.5 mile Bells Mountain Trail is part of a trail system that includes the easy Lucia Falls to Moulton Falls Trail, the Tarbell Trail Loop, and trails that access Larch Mountain, Silver Star, Squaw Butte, Pyramid Rock and other prominent landmarks in Southwest Washington. Built primarily as a foot and equestrian trail, Bells Mountain offers medium-to-hard technical difficulty with a serious cardio workout with 1500 feet of elevation gained in about 1.5 miles, lots of switchbacks, and plenty of roots and rocks to hop. From either trail head at Hantwick Road or Moulton Falls Park, the trail takes you through lush forested areas carpeted with fern, over and through small creeks, across open clearcuts with views of Mt St Helens and Adams, provides some great (albeit narrow at times) downhill opportunities and the occasional glimpse of northwest wildlife. It ends at the Cold Creek Campground and with another 1.6 mile push to the east, the Rock Creek Campground is attainable. Both of these camps are in beautiful settings along creeks and free of fees since they are operated by the Washington Department of Natural Resources.
Bells Mountain/Tarbell Trail Map pdf
Google Map of Bells Mountain Trail
Trail DescriptionBells Mountain Trail is a shared-use trail that serves hikers, equestrians and mountain bikers. In fact it was originally a foot and equestrian trail and at times a bike rider may feel it still best serves those other users. It is a primitive and unimproved trail that varies in width from less than 1 foot to 3-4 feet and in surface quality from smooth and wide to narrow with roots and rocks to muddy/pick-up-and-carry to loose side hill sections. There are fast downhill sections and steep slogs that vary from a few hundred feet to climbing for a mile or more. Transitions can come up very fast so it requires one to be very attentive and ready for the brakes. For riders of average conditioning, the longer uphill sections will require a dismount and push and for riders whose abilities could be described as novice-to-average, some of the more technical sections may require a dismount and carry or push.
A Topo Map of Bells Mountain Trail
Getting ThereDriving Directions
From I-205 or I-5 in Soutwest Washington/Vancouver area
Take the exit for State Route 500
Travel east on State Route 500 until you reach NE Fourth Plain Road in Orchards
At the Fourth Plain Road intersection, continue north on NE 117th Avenue/State Route 503
Follow State Route 503 north through Brush Prairie and Battle Ground
Turn right (east) onto Rock Creek Road
Rock Creek Road will turn into Lucia Falls Road
Access the trail from the trailhead parking lot on Hantwick Road or from Moulton Falls Park.
Mapquest map to Moulton Falls trailhead
When to Bike
This trail is best in the drier summer months of July through September as Spring and Fall/Winter rains can make it very muddy and slippery and bring the water levels up in some of the small creeks and drainages. Also, there is the occasional snow storm to consider. Would make a great snowshoe run if that were the case.