Sitka Trails » Indian River Trail

Indian River Trail
Trail Overview

Connecting Trails

Indian River Trail


Popular trail close to town. Worth going on for anything from a short stroll to an all day (or overnight) hike. The trail follows Indian River and its East Fork through 75-150 year old second growth and old growth temperate rainforest for approximately 4.5 miles to a 70 foot waterfall. A portion of the trail passes by a muskeg with views of the Sisters.

Seasons: All

Along most of the trail, snow conditions are similar to those in town. Except after recent snowfalls, there is
likely to be little, if any, snow on the trail. However, in exceptional years, there may be snow on parts of the trail into April or even May.

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Elevation Change: Moderate

  • The first 3 miles or so have a very low upward grade overall with occasional very short steeper ups and downs.
  • After gaining only about 400 feet in the first 3 or 4 miles, the grade increases significantly over the last mile of the trail to gain approximately 350 additional feet before reaching the falls.
Route Finding: Easy

  • A short distance before the falls, the trail crosses a (usually) dry wash with brush on either side. The trail goes a couple steps up the wash before passing through a short section of brush. In some conditions, it may not be obvious where to go.
Trail Condition: Good

  • The trail is well maintained most of the way to the falls. The last mile of the trail is less maintained, but still in decent condition.
  • In winter sections of the trail (especially bridges) may be quite icy.
  • During exceptionally heavy rainfall, portions of the trail may flood (this occurs primarily in the fall).
  • There may be an occasional tree that has fallen across the trail and not yet been cut away.
Getting There:

This trail is close to downtown. If you are headed out Sawmill Creek Road from town, turn left just past the National Cemetery down Indian River Road. At the end of the road is a locked gate from which you can see a blue concrete building. Go past the gate to the left of the building and you should find the trail. The trailhead sign and parking area is immediately before the gate.

Things to See

  • Along the first half mile of the trail you can see evidence of old hand logging: Look for rotting stumps with notches cut in them. The notches were used to hold a board to stand on.
  • Muskeg View: About three quarters of a mile from the trailhead, there is a very short spur to a bench at the edge of a muskeg with nice views of the Sisters.
  • Indian River Falls, a 70 foot waterfall marks the end of the trail.

Indian River Trail is nice to hike on for any distance that time or effort allows, but there are three places in particular that might make worthwhile goals along the trail.

Destination Distance (one way/round trip)
Time (one way/round trip)
Muskeg Viewpoint .75 miles/1.5 miles
20-30 minutes/45 minutes-1 hour
First Bridge 2 miles/4 miles
45 minutes-1.5 hours/2-3 hours
Indian River Falls 4.5 miles/9miles
1.5-4 hours/3-8 hours
Connecting Trails

Sitka Cross Trail

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© Matt Goff

Created: July 7, 2007
Last updated: January 9, 2014

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