Tarbell Trail – Yacolt Burn State Forest

View of Mt. St. Helens from the trail

Do you love wildflowers and volcano views? Yeah, so do I 😁

I’m always telling you all about the under-rated Tarbell Trail in the Yacolt Burn State Forest (write-up in “little feet hiking“). This time of year, the area is full of native wildflowers, migratory birds, animal tracks, and volcano views (on clear days of course). I’ve been hiking this trail for 10 years and it has been so neat to see the clearcut forest grow back and the diversity of the plants growing along the trail. Today, I saw anemone flower blooming and tiger lily not far behind.

The best time to visit if you want to see wildflowers is late May through June. Keep an eye out for wild irises and lupine in the more open areas, and beargrass when hiking through the shadier forest section.

Wild iris and lupine blooming on the trail in June

Remember to bring your WA Discover Pass, sun protection and extra water on this hike. On sunny days, there isn’t much cover from the sun. Also, avoid drinking the non-potable water at the trailhead (the water is for horses) and watch out for mountain bikes zooming down the trail.

Awesome rock along the trail

Family Guided Hiking Series through TreeSong

Author Jessica Becker is leading several guided hikes for families this spring.

10:30 AM – 2:30 OR 3:30 PM

10:30AM – 2:30 OR 3:30PM

Registration for each hike closes at 10:00am the day before. Be sure and reserve your spot! Register here: https://www.treesongnatureawareness.org/family-hikes-2022

MAY 21: Yacolt Burn State Forest, WA. Hike will be 3.5 miles with 400 feet gain. WA Discover Pass required. 

JUNE 26: Near Cougar, WA. Hike will be 2 to 4 miles. WA Discover Pass required.


Join local kid’s hiking guide author Jessica Becker on some lesser known SW Washington trails. On these hikes, your family will engage in place-based learning on native plants, animal tracking, birds, geology, history, maps and wayfinding, trail safety, sensory awareness, and more.

These hikes are geared toward families with kids ages 5 and up. Younger kids are welcome, but please bring back-up carriers for kids who cannot maintain a 1.5mph pace for the duration of the hike. We will take distanced snack and lunch breaks.

What to bring: You will be required to bring everything your family needs to be self-sufficient on the hike, including food, water, rain gear, warm layers, sit pads, parking passes, etc. It is recommended that kids carry some of their necessary gear.

A packing list, hike location, and weather forecast will be sent to you 2 weeks prior to the event.

There is an additional offsite waiver required which will be given out on the hike day. No dogs please.

Hikes are limited to 20 walking participants (children in backpacks do not count toward this limit).

Jessica is CPR/First Aid certified.



Bells Mountain Trail from Cold Creek Day Use Area

When it’s raining/snowing/hailing, one of my favorite hikes is along the Bells Mountain Trail starting from Cold Creek Day Use Area (located in the Yacolt Burn State Forest in Southwest Washington). The western red cedar and Douglas fir trees protect you from falling precipitation and the creek is so lovely. There are several beach spots along the creek and a lot of native plants budding and blooming. You can learn more about this 3.6 mile hike and it’s western red cedar trails in my first book “little feet hiking.”

Waterfall near the trailhead
Short user trail down to the creek
So many types of trees: western hemlocks, Douglas firs, western red cedars, and big-leafed maples
Skunk cabbage (yellow flowers) and false hellebore (looks a bit like corn stalks)
Weathered trillium flower
Bridge near trailhead
Western red cedar trees
Amazing nurse stump