In recent years the trail has had portions closed due to slides and wash outs. Confirm overall trail conditions with the Forest Service.
There are some longer, more well-known river trails in neighboring Oregon. Namely the McKenzie River Trail and the epic North Umpqua. But this all-singletrack river trail along the Lewis River in southwest Washington holds its own and is a great all around summer ride. Be sure to take in the views of the lower, middle, and upper falls at the northern end of the trail.
Need To Know
The ride as described below is a true out-and-back singletrack route that traces the the adjacent river. It can easily be set up as a point-to-point shuttle or be done as a loop by utilizing FR 90 to start or end the ride. The trail sees high mountain biker and hiker traffic on weekends throughout the summer.
From the small parking area off of FR 9039 on the east side of the river, ride across the bridge and access the south trailhead on the right. From south to north the trail climbs at a mild grade as you ride against the flow of the Lewis River with great views of the water along the way. The tread is varied with fast, smooth segments combined with intermittent short, technical root-packed sections. As you ride through the shady old-growth forest you'll encounter constant short ups and downs as the trail crosses several creeks and streams that feed the river.
Just prior to the 10-mile mark, the trail crosses FR 90 and leads to the Lower Falls Campground. As you continue north take in the views of the lower, middle, and upper falls of the river - any of which make a great spot for a lunch break. Shortly thereafter the trail ends at FR 90 where you can turn around and retrace your route (or to make up some time you can return on FR 90 to the southern trailhead).