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Sword Fern Trail

Southwest Washington


Southwest Washington -- Lewis River Region
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7.6 miles, roundtrip



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WTA worked here: 2021

Parking Pass/Entry Fee


The Sword Fern Trail is a 2.5-mile horseshoe-shaped loop trail accessed from Bells Mountain Trail. Four feet wide and moderate in intensity, it includes banked trail turns for bikes (thought no motorized use is allowed).

The path is through a third-growth Douglas and hemlock fir forest planted in the 1960s. There are no streams, (so bring all the water you need), a closed canopy (shade!), and the understory is sparse with namesake ferns and Oregon grape.

Despite the close canopy, there are occasional views east of the Dole valley and Silver Star Mountain beyond. 

Most people will access this trail from Moulton Falls County Park. Hike west for 0.7 miles and then turn onto the Bells Mountain Trail. From here, you'll head south for 1.4 miles until you arrive at the intersection of the Bells Mountain Trail and the Sword Fern Trail.

The Sword Fern Trail ascends towards Bells Mountain, levels near the top, then descends back to the Bells Mountain Trail 0.9 miles south from where it started. Logging roads lace the area and the trail crosses three of them. You can continue on the Bells Mountain Trail by turning right, or turn left, and hike back 3 miles toward the trailhead on the Bells Mountain Trail.

Washington Trails Association was the principal designer and developer of the trail and partnered with the Department of Natural Resources and Washington Conservation Corps. The trail is one of 10 new or planned trails in the Yacolt Burn State Forest by the Department of Natural Resources. 


Sword Fern Trail

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 45.8337, -122.3851 Open map in new window


Southwest Washington -- Lewis River Region

Washington State Department of Natural Resources

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Guidebooks & Maps

Afoot & Afield Portland/Vancouver: A Comprehensive Hiking Guide (Douglas Lorain) - Wilderness Press

Getting There

From I-205 or I-5, take the exit for State Route 500. Drive east on 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 west side of Bridge 120 or from Moulton Falls Park. Parking for 20 cars in a secondary lot above the falls is recommended. 

Parking Pass/Entry Fee


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Sword Fern Trail

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