The East Fork Lewis River features multiple parks along its waters, but one may stand out the most.
When thinking of key Pacific Northwest features, the rivers, bridges and especially waterfalls may come to mind. Moulton Falls Regional Park, south of Yacolt on the East Fork, has all three of those features.
The county-owned park boasts 387 acres with two swift waterways, two waterfalls and the arch bridge that stands over three stories high, according to Clark County Public Works.
The namesake waterfall, Moulton Falls, features strong rapids compared with the downstream cascade of Lucia Falls. Moulton Falls is a case of a river carving a path through a barricade of rock formations. It stands 11 feet high with a run of 75 feet. The rocks next to the gradually sloping waterfall can be easily accessed with caution, as rocks can be slippery, but viewing the most vertical drop of the cascade might not be worth the effort with Yacolt Falls being nearby.
Yacolt Falls trumps the falls on the East Fork Lewis River as the cascade drops 28 feet with a vertical pitch of 77 degrees, according to the Pacific Northwest Waterfall Survey. The waterfall drops another 6 feet under a swinging footbridge that crosses the creek. In the winter, the footbridge is closed, making the best view of the falls accessible only from the main parking lot along Northeast Lucia Falls Road.
The park is a key public-access feature to the East Fork Lewis River Watershed and has a few educational signs about the importance of watersheds and why they need to be natural, particularly for spawning steelhead and salmon.
The East Fork Lewis River is the largest free-flowing river in Clark County, and the watershed itself includes 212 square miles, a sign reads. Of the river’s 43 total miles, 32 miles are in Clark County, with the other 11 miles in Skamania County.
The watershed’s biggest threat comes from upstream forestry activities, such as road building, pesticide applications, logging and preparation of sites for forest revegetation, according to an educational sign in the park.
For the health of salmon, the river needs to be clean from unnatural substances, relatively clear of sediment to avoid cloudy water, and needs to be kept cool, which is most possible with the help of the river’s tree-lined shores.
Facilities in the park include nine picnic tables, one restroom, access to the popular 7.5 mile Bells Mountain Trail and more.
The park is located at 27781 NE Lucia Falls Road, just less than 3 miles south of the town of Yacolt.