Tarbell Trail

Battle Ground, Washington 98604

Tarbell Trail

Tarbell Trail Professional Review and Guide

"The Tarbell Trail was named for George Lee Tarbell, who, in the early 1900s, lived alone in a shack accessible only by a path that roughly follows the present day trail. Tarbell surely enjoyed some beautiful views along his trail, of Sturgeon Rock (3,100 feet elevation), Pyramid Rock (3,503 feet), Larch Mountain (3,496 feet), and Silver Star Mountain (4.390 feet). Views stretch from the surrounding valleys to the high Cascades.

The Tarbell Trail, like the Three Corner Rock Trail to the east, is among the best Department of Natural Resources (DNR) riding in the state. The trail is mostly hardpack with some rocky and uneven sections. It climbs and descends through second-growth forest with some scattered old growth Douglas fir. it also sports the above-mentioned views, as well as scenic Hidden Falls, to entertain the eyes while exercising the legs and lungs. Some of the best state forest riding in Washington; adjoining trails lead into the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Scenery: Second-growth forest; brief high Cascades views; Pyramid Rock; and Silver Star Mountain."

Tarbell Trail Reviews

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This was my first mountain biking trip. I spent most of the time pushing my bike because it was so steep. The trail is up and down both directions (which is really annoying). I was pretty close to the 7 mile marker, when I encountered a recently downed tree that was blocking the trail. I turned back after that. The trail is rocky enough to make a beginner nervous about slipping. Lots of tree roots. A few muddy spots, but there is usually a slim path around the edge of them. I went on a Friday, and didn't see any other people on the trail (which is good, because I would have looked like a big wuss pushing my bike around).
Unfortunatly part of this trail was closed due to logging. Since I didn't see any active logging while I was there I went ahead and went through anyway. I was disappointed to see them log right up to and over the trail. The sign said the trail would re-open once logging was complete. Once I got over that hump the trail was not difficult and the waterfall is spectacular!
The trail was somewhat muddy still. There was snow at the higher elevations. Still enjoyable, in spite of the weather. Go out on this trail when it is sunny though to get the most out of it. There have been improvements by work crews. Near the top, the horses have caused huge mud pits that can be up to 10" deep and 12 feet wide - so be prepared to get dirty - there is no way around the mud. Near the end (if you get off the main trail and follow the gravel road), there is a stream crossing where the road is washed out (at about 18.5 miles - past the point of going back). I got across on an old wooden beam that traversed the stream. The water was going across the beam - so my feet were in the water. It is "do-able" for most people with caution, but I can't recommend it. The stream is actually a full 12'to 20' wide river right now and about 3 feet deep. You cannot ride across and the stream is swift. If you fall in while crossing the beam it is likely you could be swept downstream. The water should go down soon (enough to ride or walk across). I recommend checking out the wash out and the stream before you go up to the top of the trail head. That way you don't get the suprise that I did after 18 miles of riding. The wash out is only about 2 miles from the camp ground - so it is worth checking out. During mid-summer, you can follow the entire trail all the way down to the camp ground - but horses dominate and have made it real rough. There is a stream crossing down there too. Either way, you cross a stream if you do the loop. You could do the out and back however. Great mid summer trail! Watch for hikers and horses - keep trails open to us.

Tarbell Trail Photos

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Trail Information

Battle Ground
Nearby City
3,400 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Moderate to Difficult
Technical Difficulty
Moderate to Difficult
Physical Difficulty
1,765 feet
Trailhead Elevation
2,552 feet
Top Elevation
Washington State Department of Natural Resources, Southwest Region, 800-527-3305
Local Contacts
DNR Yacolt Burn State Forest Map
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018