Last summer, I wrote up this post after a hike on the IP Logging Road along Yale Lake. Just this week, the state opened its parks back up, so my family and I were looking for a place that we could hike that would NOT be full of people. We decided to try walking the logging road again.
Although I have already written about this hike, we did something different this time, taking two side trips. My Fitbit was broken, so I could not track mileage and have no idea about elevation changes, but I thought I would write a post mostly about these side trips. We picked the right place to go, because we only encountered one couple on the trail and another couple in a kayak that landed at the sandy beach.
IP Logging Trail Side Trips
Yale Lake, Cougar, Washington
Distance: 7.3 miles to take the entire road, there and back; we did about 3 miles with our side trips
Panting stops: 0
Elevation changes: maybe 300 feet
We walked at least a mile along the IP Logging Trail before we spotted the first trail off to the right. I had brought my dog and was without my poles, but I was able to make the trip down the trail to a narrow green beach along the Lewis River before it goes into Yale Lake. The walk down was on a narrow dirt trail with a few small difficulties, but it was beautiful and green, and the beach was mossy and rocky. A bit farther down the shore was a large rock that the kids enjoyed playing on. It was a nice place to relax and perhaps to picnic at.
We returned to the logging road after combating great reluctance on the part of my great niece and nephew, who wanted to stay at the green beach. Not too much farther along the road, we encountered another side trail to the right. This one led down to a broad, sandy beach right across Yale Lake from Beaver Bay Park. The path down was a little more difficult. There was a fallen tree to get over or under and a rocky descent to the beach, but it was not especially difficult if you took care. The rocky descent was the hardest without my sticks, but I picked up a long piece of driftwood on the beach and using that was able to go up and down with little difficulty.
It was very windy that day, and at one point, those of us on the beach were blasted with sand. However, the beach was really pleasant, and the children and the dog, especially, were delighted. The children now want to return to the sandy beach with a picnic and don’t care that much about the green beach.
How to get there
From Portland or Vancouver
Get on I-5 going north and take Exit 21 for WA 503 toward Cougar. Drive east for 30 miles. About three miles after Cougar, after the Yale Dam, the next unmarked paved road on the right (at the Skamania County Line) is your turn. Cross the bridge and take the right branch of the Y toward a gate and the trailhead.
From Battle Ground
Take WA 503 northeast. When you get to the place where it branches, take the spur toward Cougar. About three miles after Cougar, after the Yale Dam, the next unmarked paved road on the right (at the Skamania County Line) is your turn. Cross the bridge and take the right branch of the Y toward a gate and the trailhead.
Parking and facilities
There is parking for a couple cars at the trailhead and for several more along the road leading to it. There are no other facilities. Dogs are allowed, I assume on a leash although there is no posting. I did not have mine on one, and nobody cared.