Wilson River

  • Level: Moderate
  • Length: 7.8 miles
  • Elevation: 600 ft. gain
  • Type: Out and back
  • Open: all year
  • Permit: n/a
  • Drive time from Portland: 1 hour
  • Google map: “Jones Creek Campground”
  • Features: Tillamook State Forest, swimming holes, camping, waterfalls
  • Pair with: University FallsVernonia Mill

This trail is such a gem because it’s only an hour from Portland, beautiful and you’re sure to find at least one promising swimming hole. Secrets revealed! Most of it nicely ambles along with only a few short inclines and declines. The only downside to it is the proximity to highway 6, which you can hear for some long stretches. Still totally worth it.

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I chose this trail because I really needed to get out, even though my day-two-period-addled bod wasn’t feeling super up to task. It was the perfect choice. Blue green pools, wildflowers, waterfalls. It’s a good “talking trail,” though, I know some of y’all will talk through any damn trail.

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From the trailhead:

When you pull into Jones Creek Campground, ignore the first paved lot on the right and drive over the bridge making the first left into a gravel lot. The trail is right by the sign board. Turn right along the river. After 0.4 mile you’ll reach a big suspension bridge that leads to the Tillamook Forest Center, which is free, if you wanna stomp around and explore that. Otherwise, skip the bridge. After a half mile or so, the trail joins with gravel Cedar Creek Road, ducks under a powerline, crosses Cedar Creek on a footbridge and starts to climb for a mile or so up to Wilson River Falls. I love this elusive waterfall! It’s about 60-feet tall, lacy and mostly obscured by fallen logs, so it’s kind of hard to take in and easy to just breeze by, but I thought it was mysterious. After another 1.4 miles, you’ll reach a signed T-shape junction. Turn left for the Footbridge Trailhead. From here, the trail gets kind of weird, but you won’t get lost. You’ll make a couple of left turns, cross over a little sandy island and keep your eyes open to the right for the bridge over the basalt gorge. Cross the bridge and then carefully jog left along highway 6 a little bit and cross the highway (again, carefully) to the signed, Bridge Creek Falls. Climb the stone steps to this wispy 40-foot falls and return the way you came.

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Elusive Wilson River Falls


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The beautiful gorge under the last footbridge to Bridge Creek Falls


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Stone steps to Bridge Creek Falls


 

First wild columbine of the season. Take me to your leader, lover.

A post shared by Jenny Bruso (@unlikelyhikers) (@jennybruso) on

These monsters are real.

A post shared by Jenny Bruso (@unlikelyhikers) (@jennybruso) on

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4 thoughts on “Wilson River

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