Molalla River Recreation Area
Salem District | OR
Season Dates: January 1 - December 31
Fees: Donation (Three Bears and Cedar Grove) and Special Recreation Permit Group Use Fee (Aquila Vista)
Enjoy a scenic drive along the Molalla River. The Molalla River Recreation Area, located approximately 10 miles southeast of Molalla in Clackamas County, offers easy river access and opportunities for picnicking, swimming, camping, whitewater boating and fishing. The Molalla is one of the few undammed tributaries of the Willamette River and cuts a picturesque gorge on its way to the valley floor. The Molalla River Recreation Area also serves as the gateway to Table Rock Wilderness.
Camping along the Molalla River from Glen Avon Bridge to Middle Fork road is limited to developed recreation facilities at Three Bears and Cedar Grove. Dispersed campsites will be closed and rehabilitated to restore riparian vegetation and improve water quality.
Three Bears Recreation Site is available for tent camping between May 13 and October 23 on a first-come, first-served basis. Situated on a scenic stretch of the Molalla River 4 miles south of Glen Avon Bridge, Three Bears has 15 campsites, each equipped with a tent pad, metal fire ring, BBQ grill and picnic table. The campground also has an on-site volunteer host, potable water, restrooms, and access to a beautiful cobble beach and swimming hole. A donation of $10 per night/per campsite is encouraged. All funds will be directed towards the maintenance and operation of the Molalla River Recreation Area.
Cedar Grove Recreation Site is available for tent camping between May 13 and October 23 on a first-come, first-served basis. The site is located in a picturesque grove of western red cedar at milepost 6 on the Molalla Forest Road. Amenities include potable water, restrooms, and 11 tent camping sites each equipped with a tent pad, metal fire ring, BBQ grill, and picnic table. A donation of $10 per night/per campsite is encouraged. All funds will be directed towards the maintenance and operation of the Molalla River Recreation Area.
Aquila Vista is available for overnight group camping by obtaining a special recreation permit. The season is most likely between May 13 and September 13. The site is located in the heart of the forest next to a large beaver pond. There is plenty of hiking and natural beauty to be seen at Aquila Vista including a small water fall. Amenities include restrooms, a group picnic shelter with multiple picnic tables and a metal fire ring. The whole recreation site will be available through a permitted reservation system for a group of up to 30 people. Reservations must be made at least 14 days in advance to enable permit processing. Permit fees are $5 per person per night, up to $150 per night. The minimum permit fee is $105. Interested groups should contact the BLM Salem District Office, (503) 375-5646. Know Before you Go: There is no running water at Aquila Vista, ensure that you bring plenty of drinking, cooking and sanitation water. There is no firewood at the site or firewood collection allowed, please bring your own firewood if you wish to have a fire. The campsite is nestled next to a large beaver pond so there can be mosquitos in the summer, don’t forget bug repellent.
What to Expect
The Molalla recreation corridor sits between 800 and 1200 feet in elevation. There is no cell phone service. Be aware that the main S. Molalla Forest Rd is regularly used for hauling timber and forest products. Please observe posted rules and regulations.
From downtown Molalla, head east on Main St/OR 211. Veer right at the OR 211/Mathias Rd intersection, following signs for Feyrer Park. Once past Feyrer Park (operated by Clackamas County) and over the Molalla River, follow signs for Dickey Prarie and turn right. Continue south on Dickey Prarie Rd , passing the Dickey Prarie Store. 3.7 miles past the Store, turn right on Molalla Forest Rd and cross Glen Avon Bridge. Hardy Creek Trailhead is 3.5 miles south of the Bridge.