A bit too urban

Turtles and a surprising duck on a platform sunning in the Turtle Pond. Photo courtesy of Autumn

Salmon Creek Park is a great place for its urban neighbors. It has a large swimming hole, a softball facility, and a three-mile hiking trail. We took that trail on our last hike. It’s wide, paved throughout. It runs next to a turtle pond, but although the map shows it running alongside Salmon Creek, at least on the part we were on, the creek was not evident without turning off the path and taking one of the small offshoots.

It was a muggy day and felt unpleasant, even though it was not hot. We ended up only going about three miles rather than the full five miles.

Salmon Creek Trail

Salmon Creek Park, Vancouver, Washington

Distance: about five miles

Difficulty: Easy peasy

Panting stops: 0

Elevation changes: 30 feet

The trail running next to the turtle pond approaching the wooded area. Briefly there was only one other person ahead of us.

This paved path is heavily used. The day we were there, we saw many walkers, joggers, runners, and bikers. Lots of people had their dogs.

We saw at least three different parking lots on our way in, so the park is ready to accommodate many people. The park is very urban until we passed the softball venue. Then the trail enters a wooded area that is much more pleasant. On another day, we might have been tempted to walk the entire trail, but it was muggy, and since we are spoiled by hiking more in rural areas, we decided to turn back. I am sure the residents near this park find it a godsend. It was a bit too urban for us.

How to get there

From Vancouver or Portland

From I-5, I-205 or Highway 99, go west on NE 139th Street until you reach NW 36th Avenue. Turn left and cross the Felida Bridge. The trailhead will be on the left side of the road.

From Battle Ground

Take WA 502 (Main Street) west from town. Turn left on NE 72nd Avenue. Go about five miles and turn right on NE 119th Avenue. Follow this road (it changes to NE 117th Street and then to NE 119th Street) until you pass under the I-5 and I-205 underpasses. Shortly after you go under the underpasses, you will see the park entrance on your right.

Parking and Facilities

There is lots of parking at the park. There are also a swimming hole with lifeguards, restrooms, and benches. The entire trail is wheelchair accessible. Dogs are allowed on a leash. The WTA page on this trail reported a parking fee being required. We were there in July on a Wednesday and saw no indication that a fee was required, so perhaps it is only on weekends.

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