The Headwaters of Paradise Creek


Why? Fine woods walk close to Moscow

Season: Year-round if you include snowshoeing

Ease: Moderate. It’s a 5 ½-mile loop with a reasonable amount of up and down.

The Headwaters Trail makes for a delightful day hike, at least as long as you hike it mid-week. Because it’s a mountain bike trail, I think weekends might be a bit of an issue. Though most of the trail is plenty wide enough for walkers and riders, there are a few spots that are too narrow for both, spots that usually come with a bit of a drop off. There also are corners where visibility could be an issue.

The hike is basically a woods walk once you leave the road that comprises the first ¼ mile or so of the trail. The trees are varied, Douglas fir and ponderosa pine predominating, and the route even includes a stream crossing or two – small streams, at least in the fall. The varied understory suggests that there would be wildflowers in season, and there definitely is lovely colorful foliage in the fall.

The hike is a circle once you’re on the single track after the right at the tree. No matter which way you choose to go, it will be largely uphill for the first half and largely downhill for the second. But there are lots of little ups and downs throughout, so it’s not a slog.

Because it’s recommended that bikers ride counterclockwise, I think hiking in the same direction makes sense. In which case, the first intersection you come to will have two trails and three bits of road in it. Take the right trail, though the left also will get you to the same place, (The road to the left will take you back to Foothill Road, making for a shorter hike.) When I hiked it, the right trail had a “Headwaters” sign. On the second intersection, continue straight across. And on the third, go sort of to the right, above the road (this is Foothill Road, so you also can just walk the road if you wish), and walk on the Boy Scout Trail, appropriately signed for that and the Headwaters. This section of the trail was built as part of an Eagle Scout project. At its end, you’ll be dumped on the main road directly across from where you first started the trail (near Pond 9). Turn right (downhill) to get back to your car.

Name Note: Paradise was the early name for Moscow, a replacement for the area’s original name of Hog Heaven.

Directions: Turn right or east on Foothill Road off Highway 95, between mile markers 347 and 348. Stay left about ½ mile in and right at 3.5 miles, where Lewis Road comes in from the left. Park at the large information sign ½ mile later and walk up the road. Foothill is gated ¼ mile farther in – it’s the road on the right, but there is no parking on this part of the road. The trail leaves the road about ¼ mile farther in, a bit past Pond 9, heading to the right at a Headwaters sign at a large Douglas fir. If you hike clockwise, the trail is on the left a few yards more up the road.
Alternatively, turn east on Lewis off Highway 95 between mile markers 349 and 350. Turn left onto Foothill 0.9 miles later and continue as above.
You also can drive north out of Moscow on N. Mountainview Road and turn left on Idlers Rest Road and then right on Foothill. The extension of N. Polk also intersects with Foothill Road.

Information and Maps: They are available at