Friday, November 02, 2007

NE ~ Lacamas Park

Date visited: October 25, 2007
Agency: Cities of Vancouver and Camas
Path Surface: Short asphalt path turning into dirt, gravel.
Elevation gain/loss: Variable, as described, 275 feet.
Distance: Variable. As described, 4.0 miles. A loop just around the lake is approximately 1.2 miles.
Ratings: Setting ++++ Calorie-burning ++++
Directions: One way to get there is to take the 192nd exit from SR 14 to SE 1st St where you will turn right. 1st St turns into NW Lake Lake Rd. Follow Lake Rd until it ends, turn left for 100 feet and then right into the parking lot for Lacamas Park.

One of our favorite local parks, this trail network actually involves Round Lake, which is across the street from Lacamas Lake and the Lacamas Heritage Trail.

Start from the parking lot on the asphalt path that skirts the lake edge. The lake is a favorite of water fowl in fall and winter. Continue to the lake outlet, where you cross a concrete footbridge next to a fish screening wheel and the 50 foot dam that keeps the water in Round Lake.

On the other side of the dam, trails shoot off every which way. Follow the main path a short distance along the lake shore, then veer right at the first major intersection to stay as close to the creek as possible, guided by the sound of rushing water. At a log rail fence, take a look at the Potholes, rounded holes in the bedrock with a green-fringed waterfall pushing through.

Continue along the fence, then through a rocky oak meadow with the stream on your right side. Follow this trail .6 mile generally sticking with the twists and turns of the creek. Along the way, scan the treetops for Cooper's hawks and flickers. Song sparrows, towhees and winter wren inhabit the brushy undergrowth.

When you reach to a 153 foot metal bridge that spans the creek, you can detour over the bridge for a rolling .6 mile jaunt along the creek to the Lacamas Creek Park trailhead. Even if you don't take the out and back detour, be sure to step out onto the bridge for the great view of the rushing creek.

At the bridge's north edge, climb uphill away from the creek on a wide gravel path toward Crown Road. If you do not want to do the full hill climb, take a shortcut at a sign that points to Access Road, which is the road at the approximate center of the park. Otherwise continue up the wide path to a high point and turn left downhill on an even wider path, which is actually the access road.

Follow the road as it crosses a bridge then goes back up hill briefly before heading down again. As you continue on, look on the right for a sign that leads to the famous lily loop, a real treat in the spring. We did not take this detour today and instead continued a bit farther on the access road to the downhill path to Woodburn Falls, a gentle trickle in autumn. The path is marked with a brown stake.

Upon returning to the access road, take a right at the next intersection to follow the signs for Round Lake Loop. Circle the lake, enjoy the viewing platform and wetlands area and return to the parking lot via Leonard and Everett Roads.Map.

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