It’s an easy seven miles out and back on the Lacamas Heritage Trail, but it’s also a chance to get out in nature, see the lake and look for birds in the wetlands.
The Lacamas Heritage Trail, located in Camas, parallels Lacamas Creek and the western shore of Lacamas Lake. On a warm day you’ll enjoy the shade under a canopy of old growth forest.
A Trail for All Seasons
I discovered the trail on a wet day when I had developed a bad case of cabin fever. It had been raining for days, I thought, and Cinnamon the Coonhound looked at me longingly, hoping for a walk. I remembered that the trail was an easy one and close to my east Vancouver home.
I packed up Cinnamon during a break in the rain clouds, and we headed for Lacamas Lake Park, a short drive away. The Heritage Trail was developed with the goal “to preserve and protect the shoreline and water quality of Lacamas Lake to benefit future generations,” the sign at the trailhead read.
There were just a few people out on the trail jogging. I decided that a three-mile hike would be just enough and so watched the trail markers carefully as we explored the wetlands and noticed how high the lake was.
About a mile up the trail it started raining. The trail had plenty of gravel on it and it wasn’t slippery, so we kept going. The raindrops hitting the lake were beautiful, but, after looking at Cinnamon’s increasingly soaked coat, we turned back and made it to the car just as the rain was coming down hard.
On less stormy days you can keep going the whole 3.5 miles of the trail to the turnaround point. The views of the lake are great, and you can stop and admire the red and white Leadbetter House across the lake. It’s a 1901 Queen Anne Victorian style Farmhouse, a wedding gift from Henry and Georgiana Pittock to their son Frederick and his bride, Bertha Leadbetter Pittock. It currently is privately owned. However, there is some talk of making it into a museum.
The trail can get crowded, but if you go on a weekday or later in the day on a weekend, you can avoid the many joggers, hikers and dog-walkers who love this trail.
Lacamas Lake Regional Park
Starting the trail at Lacamas Lake Regional Park ensures a place to park, and there are restrooms and picnic areas. The park covers 312 acres and has a boat ramp. You can fish for bass, bluegill and perch in Round Lake.
The park is home to deer, raccoons and many birds, including Osprey. Early morning and early evening are the times to go to see wildlife. In mid-April look for the beautiful blue Camas lilies.
If you want to hike more after enjoying the Lacamas Heritage Trail, you can connect with the park’s 6-mile hiking trail system. The park and trails are open 7:00 a.m. to dusk.
Getting to the Lacamas Heritage Trail
From Vancouver, head east on SR 14 to SR 500 in Camas, turn north on 500 to NE Lake Road. There is also a trailhead at Goodwin Road. If you are in east Vancouver and are near 164th Avenue, travel east on SE 1st Street, which becomes NE Lake Road.