Looking for something different to give your Valentine this year? Valentine’s Day gifts can be a challenge. This year, we encourage you to make Valentine’s Day a day to celebrate outdoors, in the majesty of our Clark County’s scenic wonderlands. Exploring the beauty of nature with your special someone while holding hands down a remote trail will create memories for a lifetime. Whether you slowly saunter along a well-groomed trail, hike to a remote destination or take a trail run along a lake, we hope this Valentine’s Day will be one of outdoor activities.
The weather might not be sunny and warm, but there is something magical about the connectivity gained through spending time in the nature, no matter the season. In February, despite the reputation of the Pacific Northwest for being dreary, Clark County is full of incredible destinations, perfect a romantic date. And, while chocolate might add to your waistline, this Valentine’s Day gift is heart healthy. The following are a list of close trails and walks that are fun in any weather. Make it a weekly activity, and you and your love will be literally taking care of each other’s hearts – now what’s more romantic than that?
Another classic local trail system for short, romantic walks along a gorgeous body of water can be found at Vancouver Lake. With views of Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams and Mt. St. Helens on clear days, a stroll along the 2 miles of asphalt and dirt paths will have you reconnected with both nature and each other. Picnic shelters are scattered throughout the park complex, making Vancouver Lake a perfect place for a meal outdoors – away from the distractions of work and home. For more walking, you can also trek on over to the Columbia River along the 2.5 mile long trail to Frenchman’s Bar Regional Park.
Walk Officer’s Row and Around Fort Vancouver
Close to town and easy to wander, the short walk around Fort Vancouver and the luxurious houses along Officer’s Row makes for a fun, romantic jaunt. The walk along the Discovery Historic Loop Trail is flat and open, letting you take in the sights of the region without a feel of being rushed or hurried. As an added bonus, you can swing down to the Waterfront Renaissance Trail along the Columbia River. This walk is best done an hour or so before sunset.
If the previous two destinations are too city orientated, Lacamas Lake will get you the solitude and solace you desire. With a six mile network of hiking trails, as well access to the Lacamas Heritage Trail, you can walk with your special someone for hours on end in the beautiful scenery of the region. We recommend starting with the 1.2 mile loop trail known as Round Lake, which circumnavigates the small, but beautiful lake. The park has a picnic shelter and over a dozen picnic tables, if you desire a place to rest and eat.
Salmon Creek Trail
Known as an urban greenway, the Salmon Creek Trail is a great walk to escape the stresses and distractions of everyday life. Offering a three mile long paved trail that might give you glimpses of deer, rabbits, raccoons and beavers, you and your sweetie will find yourself in awe at the natural beauty of the region. Birders will enjoy this walk, as well. Blue Herons, eagles and wood ducks are commonly seen along the walk all year.
Finally, those hoping for something a bit farther from the traffic of the city should head out to Battle Ground Lake. While we mention it often in our Clark County hiking destinations, we do so for a good reason. Battle Ground Lake is an iconic lake, full of great views, stunning forests and a picturesque trail system. With 10 miles of hiking trail options, you are sure to find the perfect view or overlook to share with your loved one.
Going to one of the parks mentioned above will give you time together, away from all screens and distractions, as well as hopefully kickstarting a desire to explore the scenic beauty of our region more often.