This week, my friends and I returned to Whipple Creek, where, instead of just staying on the main loop or Stone Mill Loop trails, we hiked, in addition, one of the secondary maintained trails. These trails are not always open and during some seasons are only open to hikers, so be sure to pay attention to the notices in the park for when to walk them.
For this hike, we departed from the main trail at Carousel Hill to walk the 45th Parallel trail. We missed its start near a picnic area, but were able to find it later. We walked that trail all the way until it intersected with the Stone Mill Loop.
North Ridge Way, 45th Parallel, and Stone Mill Loop
Whipple Creek Regional Park, Ridgefield, Washington
Distance: 4 miles
Panting stops: two to three
Elevation changes: 216 feet
As I have written before, Whipple Creek Park is a beautiful park within a stone’s throw of the Salmon Creek area of Vancouver. It is heavily wooded, lightly trafficked (at least during the week), has some varied terrain, and you are likely to meet up with one or more groups of horses. We always enjoy that park.
As usual when we go to this park, we came in at the north entrance, off 21st Avenue. This time, we took North Ridge Way from the North-South Connector with the idea that once we cut over to the South Ridge Loop from Carousel Hill, we would find the start of the 45th Parallel Trail. We missed it. It must have been at the back of the meadow with the picnic area, but we cut over once we came to the Burl Cutoff.
The path is a dirt trail, narrow at times, but it makes a straight cut across the park along the 45th parallel instead of winding around like the other trails do. It is also relatively flat compared to the other paths, so more easy. The woods are denser here. All in all, it makes a pretty walk.
We came out at the Stone Mill Loop and continued that trail around to the North-South Connector and back to the parking lot. That was the most difficult part of our hike besides the long climb on the North-South Connector on the way back to the parking lot.
How to get there
From I-5, take the exit for Clark County Event Center at NE 179th Street. Go west on 179th St. to 21st Avenue, where you will see a sign for the park, and turn left. The road dead-ends at the park.
From Battle Ground
Take Washington 502 west to NE 10th Avenue. Turn left. Drive down to NE 179th Street. Go right on 179th St. to 21st Avenue, where you will see a sign for the park, and turn left. The road dead-ends at the park.
Parking and facilities
At the north parking lot, there is parking for about 10 cars and five or six horse trailers. Cars should park in the area closest to the park. The area behind it is for horse trailers. There is a porta-potty at that entrance as well as mounting blocks for the riders.