Our latest hiking adventure was quite a discovery, a beautiful woodland park nestled into the small city of Camas. It features playscapes, picnic areas, a lake with some small beaches, creeks, waterfalls, a fish ladder, and hiking trails. It is a nice park for just relaxing but also offers hiking trails with a variety of difficulty. We attempted to take the large loop around the park but got off the trail at one point and never made it around to the other side of the lake. Still, we saw some beautiful scenery and had a good time.
It is clear that this is probably a heavily used park during the summer. When we went to the park in mid-March during the week, it was not crowded at all, although there were more people in the main part of the park when we left than when we arrived. While hiking in the deeper reaches of the park, we only encountered a few people with dogs, a couple of bikers, and maybe 10 groups of hikers. The morning started off cool, but we got quite hot when we were there and started peeling off layers. Most of the park is shaded, however, so we did not get too hot.
Lacamas Park Trail
Lacamas Creek Park, Camas, Washington
Difficulty: Middling to Moderate
Panting stops: 5-7
Distance: roughly 4 miles
Elevation changes: 374 feet
Most hiking guides rate this trail as Easy, but I rated it Middling to Moderate, because if you go on the Lower Falls Loop, as we did, the trail gets quite rough in places, and the main trail has a long rise in elevation over about a half mile. I don’t know about you, but those long rises are the hardest for me.
We attempted to take the big trail loop, shown in purple or hatched lines on the trail maps. We went counterclockwise from the parking lot at the top of the lake. The trails are poorly marked, however, and we took a detour on the Lower Falls Loop.
After an interpretive discussion about one of the posted maps with my co-hikers, we went the way they thought was right and ended up going left instead of taking the path around the top of the lake where it cuts to the right. Instead, we ended up retracing part of our route. We all agreed, however, that it was a beautiful park and worth returning to.
Except where we left the main trail to do the falls loop, the path is either paved or cinder, wide and easy to navigate. The Falls Loop was at some points rocky, and it was a narrower dirt trail. We saw lots of people with small children over by the playscape and beach but not deeper into the woods. In the woods, we saw hikers, bikers, and dog walkers.
How to get there
From Battle Ground
Take WA-503 south from Battle Ground to Padden Parkway and turn left. Follow the signs for WA-500 until you get to NE Everett Street in Camas. Continue down NE Everett until you see two lakes, one on each side of the road. The park entrance is on your left.
Take WA-14 east from Vancouver toward Camas. Take Exit 12 toward Camas on NW 6th Avenue. Turn left on NE Garfield Street. Turn left again on NE 14th Street. In two blocks turn right on NE Everett Street, which is also WA-500. Follow NE Everett Street until you see two lakes, one on each side of the road. The park entrance is on your right.
Parking and facilities
There is a large parking lot at the park for about 30 or 40 cars. The park has restrooms (not open when we were there in March, but there were porta-potties), a playscape, picnic tables, and small beaches, as well as many benches.