When the sun and warm weather makes its appearance in the Pacific Northwest, people come out of hibernation to take a deep breath and experience the great outdoors. Living in this area means we have access to a wide variety of picturesque spaces to explore, and Clark County’s state parks offer some of the most breathtaking views that the world has to offer. If you are looking to get outdoors, don’t miss these state parks in Clark County.
Grab your kayak or your stand-up paddle (SUP) board and venture out to Reed Island State Park. Once you arrive, it is the perfect place to escape and unwind. Located on the Columbia River just east of Vancouver, this island is only accessible by small boats that can be beached. It is completely undeveloped with no restrooms, campsites, or garbage facilities, but does offer some picnic tables for your enjoyment. The island looks out onto Steigerwald National Wildlife Refuge, making it the ideal place for birdwatchers and other nature enthusiasts.
There are no hiking trails on the island, but there is a steep bank up from the beach that leads into some forested area that is fun to explore. The interior of the island is a meadow, which is a perfect walking space. Overnight camping on the beach is permitted if visitors practice the ‘leave no trace’ principle. For guests enjoying a more rustic outdoor experience, Reed Island State Park is a great place. “Reed Island is close to Portland and Vancouver, but away from the world,” shares Meryl Lassen, communications consultant for Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission. “You might have the place to yourself.”
Battle Ground Lake
Just outside of Vancouver, Battle Ground Lake State Park is tucked away from the hubbub of the city. The lake itself sits on the ancient caldera of a volcano that erupted 100,000 years ago. It has the feel of a local park, but is great for camping, biking, horseback riding and swimming. Families can also fish from the pier or from small boats on the lake.
There are some wooded campsites that require about a quarter-mile walk and for the more primitive sites, there is a 1/3-mile walk on a trail with a slight grade. There are two trails around the park that are flat, but there is a bit of undulation as walkers travel around the lake, with a few steep footpaths to the outer trails. The outer trails are higher than the lake, so walkers can look down on the action happening in the water. There are also larger gathering areas available with three-sided Adirondack shelters.
“One thing many people who aren’t local don’t know about Battle Ground Lake is that the park offers ballfields, a badminton area, horseshoes, and a terrific new playground,” Lassen shares. “Campers can also reserve any of the park’s four cabins if they’d rather glamp a little. Plus, the park is close enough to Battle Ground and Vancouver, so you can go into town for a latte or meal if your camp coffee isn’t cutting it or your grill master needs a break.”
Paradise Point State Park is at the boundary of the east Fork Lewis River, where it empties into the Lewis River. It is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts that enjoy camping and outdoor activities like kayaking, swimming or disc golf. The entrance to Paradise Point and the camping area are about 200 feet higher than the river. There are two miles of trails, with about half the length winding around the camping area. The other trails lead down to the river, wetland and a disc golf area. Visitors can also drive down to the river area on Paradise Road. There are yurts for overnight roofed camping.
It is a popular swimming destination for families in the summer months. “In the early mornings it has the feel of a wetland and great blue herons can be seen wading or taking off from the river,” Lassen shares.
Whether it’s scenic mountain views, spectacular walking and hiking trails, or a wide-open space to sleep under the stars, there’s nothing better than taking in the unmatched beauty of the Pacific Northwest. “Almost every county in Washington has a state park, which makes our state parks remarkably accessible and important to our communities,” says Lassen. “Clark County is lucky to have three unique state parks – all scenic and family friendly with water features, mixed-use trails and other opportunities for recreation and relaxation. As summer unfolds, we hope Clark County residents will use these local state parks to make happy memories.”
State parks require a Discover Pass or day use permit to use, except for certain free days throughout the year. For more information including update to information on the parks, closures, events and other visitor guidelines, visit the Washington State Parks website.