Three Bears

• Three Bears Recreation Site is a beautiful site in the Molalla Recreation Area
• A cobble beach and relatively warm water, family with small children friendly

Three Bears

Three Bears

Three Bears

Three Bears Swimming Hole

Enjoy the beauty of the lucid green waters of the Molalla River that carved through dramatic basaltic lava rocks. A scenic route along the river passes a few day-use sites within the Molalla Recreation Area. The sites provide great opportunities for a natural dip into the cool and clear water. One of them, Three Bears Recreation Site is located 3.5 miles south of Glen Avon Bridge, was open in 2013 by the BLM.

A cobble beach and river with relatively warm water on hot summer days are easily accessible from the parking lot. The water is deeper in a big pool near a rock wall that lines the opposite bank. The site has campsites with fire rings, barbecue grill, and picnic tables.

The Three Bears area provides an excellent opportunity for picnicking, camping, swimming, and hiking. Designated for mountain bikers, equestrians, and hikers, a network of connecting trails is over 25 miles long.

There are other excellent swimming spots along the Molalla River:

Three Bears Recreation Site | General Description

Open: May 15 - September 15; Campground is open for weekend use only, Friday 12 pm through Monday 11 am
Managed: BLM
Location: Molalla River Recreation Area

Services: Vault toilets, potable water, garbage service, picnic sites
Activities: Swimming, fishing, hiking, camping, rockhounding
Accommodations: 15 single and group campsites

Distance from the parking: Short
Road access: Any passenger vehicle
Day-use fees: None
Popularity: Moderate

Elevation: 680 ft (207 m)

Three Bears Area is located:

  • 11 miles southeast of Molalla
  • 38 miles east of Salem
  • 46 miles southeast of Portland
  • 107 miles northeast of Eugene.

Swimming hole rating: 3 out of 5
Water body: River
Water quality: Transparent
Current: Light
Depth: Deep and shallow
Beach: River rocks
Water T° (summer): Cool to warm


From I-5,

  • Take Exit 271 for Highway 214
  • Turn right onto Highway 214 toward Woodburn
  • Continue along Highway 211 and then E Main Street in Molalla to Mathias Road
  • Turn right onto Mathias Road and follow to S Feyrer Park Road
  • Turn left onto S Feyrer Park Road and continue to S Dickey Prairie Road
  • Turn right and drive to Glen Avon Bridge
  • Cross the bridge and continue for about 3 miles to the destination on the left.

Phone: 503-375-5646

GPS: N 45°2.556' W 122°29.340' | 45.0426, -122.489

Adventures Nearby


  1. This site mentions a 25 mile long loop trail. “Designated for mountain bikers, equestrians, and hikers, a 25-mile-long loop trail is nearby.” I am looking for more information about this trail. Do you know the name of it or location of the trailhead?

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