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 boundaries of 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. The area is managed by BLM since 2013.
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 the biggest pool near a rock wall that lines the opposite bank. The site has campsites with fire rings, barbecue grills, 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 totally over 25 miles long.
There are other excellent swimming spots along the Molalla River:
Three Bears Recreation Site | General Description
Open: Campground is open every day for the season from October 1st through May 15th
Location: Molalla River Recreation Area
Services: Vault toilets, potable water, garbage service, picnic sites
Activities: Swimming, fishing, hiking, camping, rockhounding
Accommodations: Walk-in tent camping on a first-come, first-served basis
Distance from the parking: Short
Road access: Any passenger vehicle
Day-use fees: None
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.
- 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.