hike: Wilson River Trail – Jones Creek to Footbridge
This section of the Wilson River Trail between the Jones Creek and the Footbridge trailheads provides an easy hike through coastal forest with several riverside access points.
distance: 8 miles (out and back)
elevation gain: 600 ft.
best season: all year
drive time from Portland: 1 hour
parking pass: none
hike description: OregonHikers.org: Wilson River Traverse hike (see section 4: Cedar Creek)
This section of the Wilson River Trail follows its namesake for most of the hike… the only section to do so. It’s also the easiest section, with much less elevation gain than the others. In my opinion, this area is best in the winter and spring when water levels are higher and the moss is bright green.
Beginning at the Jone Creek Day Use Area, the trail begins at the road next to the parking lot and goes around the campground before heading to the river. The trail used to start at the day use area, but a bridge washed out and the trail was rerouted, adding more distance than the signage for the Wilson River Trail states.
The re-routed section is quite scenic, with two newer footbridges over creeks.
After about one mile, the trail passes by a suspension bridge at the Tillamook Forestry Center.
view of the Wilson River from the suspension bridge
The next several miles of trail alternate between traveling next to the river, or ascending above it on a ridge. The blue-green color of the water is best viewed from above. The trail also passes below power lines, and next to a forest road for a short segment.
View of Cedar Creek from a large concrete bridge
On one of the higher sections of trail along the ridge, we passed under Wilson Falls. The falls are pretty, but have quite a bit of debris at the bottom so not great for photographing.
Continuing in a forested section, it’s about another mile to the Footbridge trailhead. We did this hike as an out and back so we were able to experience the scenery on the hike back too.