• Molalla River Recreation Corridor features numerous spots to stop by and enjoy nature
• Hiking, swimming, camping, and picnicking are popular pastimes here
Molalla River Recreation Corridor offers a picturesque drive taking you along the upper portion of the Molalla River. On this drive, you will see plenty of spots to stop by and enjoy the beauty of the lucid green waters of the river that is carved through dramatic basaltic lava formations. The area offers a plethora of outdoor activities including swimming, hiking, biking, camping, picnicking, whitewater rafting, and fishing.
The paved road with river access is about 12 miles long, while the entire area features over 30 miles of non-motorized trails. Here you can enjoy quiet swimming holes with rocky beaches, rapids, basaltic and andesitic lava flows, forested slopes and foothills, and even breathtaking views of the Cascade Range.
Keep in mind that only the designated Molalla River Recreation Area part of the river is fully open for recreational use.
Table Rock Wilderness along with other areas have its own set of rules and regulations.
The Molalla River Trail System has over 50 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. The system includes dedicated hiking trails along with old forest roads. The trails are generally clearly marked including difficulty levels and will take you through the scenic forested Molalla River Valley.
The largest trailhead, Hardy Creek Trailhead provides access to the trails as well as a large parking area, restrooms, and trails map.
Trails are closed when wet. Single-track trails are closed from October 15th through April 15th.
The river watershed is a significant source of clean drinking water, fisheries, forest products, wildlife, and outdoor recreation.
In the hot summer months, crystal-clear green water with numerous swimming holes attracts visitors to enjoy swimming in the refreshing water of the Upper Molalla River. The water temperature warms up to 67-70°F at the peak of the summer heat.
Fishing for steelhead here is considered one of the best in the state. Trout and bass are also present. The river from the mouth to the Pine Creek Bridge is open the entire year for coho salmon, adipose fin-clipped Chinook salmon, and steelhead. Non-adipose fin-clipped steelhead can be retained from July 1st to August 31st. Bait can be used between May 15th and July 15th. The rules and regulations can be changed without notice, so always check with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The river carves through basalt rock formations bringing boulders and pebbles from the Cascade Range. Surprisingly, our team during our multiple trips to the river did not find any interesting stones or minerals worth mentioning.
Molalla River Recreation Area Campgrounds & Day-Use Areas
Camping within a quarter of a mile is limited to developed sites such as Cedar Grove Campground and Three Bears Campground. Advance camping reservation is available via Recreation.gov.
In addition to campgrounds, there are numerous recreational day-use sites along the scenic corridor with river access. This means you can enjoy river activities including swimming, rock jumping, fishing, and much more!
Day-Use Site 2
Molalla River Day-Use Site 2 is a designated recreation site and secluded scenic river oasis. Large rock ledges serve as platforms to sunbathe or jump into a deep pool.
The site is easily accessible by a short trail at the turnout on South Molalla Forest Road.
Day-Use Site 4
Molalla River Day-Use Site 4 offers a great escape from the summer heat. The scenic undeveloped site with a beautiful swimming hole is easily accessible by a well-maintained trail.
The hole is deep making this spot great for swimming and jumping from the flat underwater ledges.
Three Bears Recreation Site
Three Bears Campground & Recreation Site is a pristine river oasis where you can enjoy the beauty of the lucid green river water making its way through dramatic basalt rock formations.
Swimming, hiking, camping, and picnicking are popular pastimes here.
Cedar Grove Campground
Cedar Grove Campground is nestled amid ancient western red cedar trees.
This river oasis is one of many places along the Molalla River Recreation Corridor that provide access to swimming, camping, picnicking, hiking, or simply enjoying beautiful Oregon nature.
Ivor Davies Wayside
A beautiful river oasis, Ivor Davies Wayside provides opportunities for summer water activities. The area features a huge rock named Blackbear Rock that sits right in the middle of the river and divides the stream into two arms.
There are a few swimming holes with jumping opportunities.
Day-Use Site 16
Molalla River Day-use Site 16 is a perfect roadside swimming hole at the Pine Creek Bridge.
The deep swimming area equipped with a rope swing is right under the bridge. There are shallows upstream and downstream.