Trail running at Falls Creek Falls in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest is an excellent option for scenic and challenging runs. The trail is a loop that takes you along Falls Creek, past waterfalls, and through old-growth forest. The total distance of the loop is about 4.5 miles, and the elevation gain is about 1,000 feet. The trail connects to other trails and forest roads to extend the run and to Falls Creek Cave.

 

The opening at Fall Creek Cave.

Falls Creek Cave is roughly 1.2 miles long and explores a collapsed section of a lava tube. The entrance, located at the second of three collapsed sections, can be tricky to find, so be sure to research beforehand or have a good map. Entering the cave requires some additional preparation and caution. The Forest Service recommends that visitors only enter the cave if they are experienced cavers and have the proper equipment. The cave is not maintained, and no light is inside it.

 

Fall Creek Falls Trail.

 

The trails are well-maintained but can be rooty and rocky in some spots. A few creek crossings can be tricky depending on the water level. The views from the trail are amazing. In the distance, you’ll see waterfalls, old-growth forests, and Mount St. Helens. The trail is also home to wildlife, so keep your eyes peeled for deer, elk, and beavers.

The trail can be crowded, especially on weekends. If you’re looking for a more solitary run, you may want to go during the week. The trailhead parking lot can also fill up on busy days, so get there early to secure a spot. There are no restrooms at the trailhead, so plan accordingly. Due to the fragile ecosystem, the trail is not dog-friendly or allowed.

 

Fall Creek Falls Trail in the Fall.

 

Overall, trail running at Falls Creek Falls is a great way to experience the beauty of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. The trail is challenging but rewarding, and the views are amazing.

 

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