River/Creek · Views · Waterfall
Offering a great overview of what the Tillamook State Forest has to offer, this route takes you away from the river and the highway noise, leading you up into the greater Wilson River watershed and the Lester Creek valley, in particular. The route offers some rocky cliffs and outcroppings with fantastic views over the valley, as well as giving an opportunity to run through several ecosystem types, including drier hillsides and wet red alder groves. You'll feel truly alone out there, a least until you reach the Diamond Mill OHV Area. Crossing the Diamond Mill footbridge is a treat, as this wooden bridge is a beautiful work of art and showcases the gorgeous North Fork of the Wilson River. You also get a peek at the lovely Lester Creek waterfall on the other side of the river. Excellent in the rain or in the sunshine, this route is a challenge and a pleasure.
Need to Know
This trail is part of the greater Wilson River Trail
which has multiple trail heads along it's length to form segments. You'll need to shuttle with a friend, as there's no bus route, and leave a car at both trail heads.
Cliff edges and seasonal mud abound on this narrow trail. Watch out for mountain bikers as well.
Start at the Kings Mtn Trailhead, which has a parking lot and a vault toilet. This trailhead is popular, so arrive early to get a spot. Leave a car at the Jones Creek Trailhead before continuing on to Kings Mtn if you're planning to shuttle.
Start out running along the Wilson River, up-slope and looking down on it. The sounds of the highway can be loud. The trail turns uphill as you climb towards the first ridge. The top of the ridge doesn't offer much for views, but as you drop down the other side you loose the highway noise.
Work your way slowly uphill as you follow the outside edge of the Lester Creek tributary valley. At the end of the valley there are some fantastic views from rocky outcroppings. You can see the whole Lester Creek valley stretched out before you. Watch out for the sharp cliffs if you have dogs or children. Follow the dry, rocky cliffs around the edge as you head downhill towards the fork of the Wilson River. Cross the fork at the fantastic wooden footbridge. This is very close to the Diamond Mill OHV area, so don't be surprised to hear ATV and other motor noises.
Turn to follow the Wilson River downstream and keep an eye out to your left for Lester Creek Falls on the other side of the river. There is a short side trail that gives you a better view.
You'll have to cross a state forest road twice, so keep an eye out for traffic. Another short uphill climb through a Douglas Fir plantation (planted after the Tillamook Burn) will bring you through to the end.
Flora & Fauna
Douglas Fir, sword fern, red alder, elk, Sitka spruce, western red cedar.
Shared By: Samantha Goodwin