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Bells Mountain Trail

 
Bells Mountain Trail

Page Type: Trail

Location: Washington, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 45.79877°N / 122.36521°W

Trail Type: Cross Country, Downhill, Mountain

County: Clark

Technical Difficulty: Medium

Aerobic Difficulty: Hard

Layout: Out & Back

Elevation Gain: 1500 ft / 457 m

Length: 7.5 Mi / 12.1 Km

Route Quality: 
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Page By: Malibu

Created/Edited: Sep 15, 2009 / Oct 7, 2011

Object ID: 271917

Hits: 9394 

Page Score: 75.81%  - 6 Votes 

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The Lowdown on Bells Mountain Trail

The 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
 


Bridge at Moulton Falls
Winter at Moulton Falls Bridge (borrowed from Clark County Parks web page)

Bells Mountain/Tarbell Trail Map pdf
Google Map of Bells Mountain Trail

Trail Description

Bells 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. 
View from Bells Mountain Trail
View to the north. Mt St Helens is out there through the cloud cover.


A Topo Map of Bells Mountain Trail

 
Bells Mountain
Our LBS owner, Ed, about to head up some serious switchbacks in the clearcut.

Getting There

Driving 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

 
Cold Creek/Larch Mountain
Cold Creek serentity seen from Bells Mountain.


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.

Park Fees and other red tape

This land and trail are managed by Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and once did not require any access fees or passes. That has changed as of Fall 2011. Depending on which trail head you access this tread, a visibly posted Discover Pass is required for use at all DNR managed sites and trail heads so please be aware of this. An annual pass is $35.00 and a daily pass is $10.00. The fine for parking without one is $99.00. As always, please use your best trail manners. These trails are often multi-use with bikers, hikers and equestrians all using the same tread.

Help enhance this page

If you have more images and/or trip notes about your experiences on this trail system, please feel free to add them. Thanks

Images

Lucia Falls, East Fork Lewis River