Photo ©Steve Jones
In the same general neighborhood as the Lewis River Trail, the Siouxon Creek trail is a bit closer to Portland (about 1.5 hours travel time) while still offering the same great running experience.
And like the LRT, it’s an out-and-back, so the length of your run can vary as conditions and your fitness allow.
The recommended distance is about 13 miles, round trip. From the trailhead parking area, the access trail descends steeply for a short distance before joining the main trail.
Turn right and follow the trail upstream as it parallels Siouxon Creek, rolling along through dense forest. Numerous small waterfalls will capture your attention, but the big daddy, Chinook Falls, is your goal.
The route fords Siouxon Creek near Chinook Falls, but we don’t recommend you do that. If you make this trip in spring or early summer, the falls, swollen by spring runoff, will be awe-inspiring, as the creek plummets 50 feet over the cliff into a crystal clear pool.
From the trail’s end at the falls, retrace your steps back to the car to complete the run.
From Portland: Take I-5 north to WA Hwy. 502 and go east on 502 approximately 7 miles to Battle Ground. In Battle Ground, turn left on WA 503 (Lewisville Hwy.), heading north on 503 approximately 17 miles. At the Chelatchie Prairie store, turn east on FS 54 (Healy Road) for about 9 miles, then bear left at a poorly marked junction onto FS 57. Continue another 1.3 miles before a sharp left turn onto unsigned FS 5701; follow this 3.7 miles to its end at the trailhead parking lot.
(Having a Gifford Pinchot National Forest map will help you navigate your way to the trailhead, plus it will be a nice reference for other area trails.)
To add distance, look for a small turnout on the left after rounding a hairpin turn, about a mile after your turn onto FS 5701. By starting here and running to the end as described above, you’ll have a 19 mile round trip run.
(Note: FS 57 and FS 5701, though paved, are quite rough and potholed; take care if you’re driving a low clearance vehicle.)