Summer is in full swing and it’s time to get outside and explore! Vancouver, Washington and the surrounding Clark County area offer breathtaking views with breathing room, paths less traveled, and outdoor spaces perfect for relaxing among the trees. With so many accessible scenic areas it can be challenging to choose where to start your adventure in SW Washington. But our Parks & Trails Pass can make the decision process a little smoother! Sign up and make 15 check-ins by Aug. 31 to be eligible for a grand prize drawing (three lucky winners will receive a $100 gift card to a local recreation business). Here are just a few of the must-see natural spaces around Clark County included in the Parks & Trails Pass.
Whipple Creek Park
Whipple Creek Park's primary feature is 4.3 miles of wooded trails that navigate through 300 acres of massive Douglas fir trees and mossy green forest bottoms. Located in Ridgefield just west of the Clark County Fairgrounds, Whipple Creek is the perfect starting point for hikers of all skill levels. This park is also an exceptionally pristine and tranquil forest environment and is home to many types of wildlife, including woodpeckers, hawks, deer, flying squirrels, herons, and beavers—so keep your eyes peeled!
Salmon Creek Greenway Trail
Salmon Creek Greenway Trail offers the picture-perfect place for a summer walk. This 3.1-mile paved trail in north Vancouver winds along the banks of Salmon Creek. The 850-acre greenway space opened to the public in 1996 and includes forest, creeks, meadows, and ponds. Along the path are wildlife interpretive areas, duck nesting boxes, and restored habitat. If you like birding, bring binoculars—you might spot a variety of wildlife from a blue heron or fluffy bunny, to even a possible Barred Owl!
Moulton Falls Regional Park
A hidden gem close to Vancouver and Portland, Moulton Falls Regional Park is ideal for a great relaxing hike in SW Washington. Walkers, mountain bikers, and equestrians enjoy this wooded trail along the Lewis River. You'll find the east entrance to the trail at Moulton Falls Regional Park, and barrier-free access from the west is found at the Hantwick Road trailhead. Bring your camera for the Instagram-worthy shot of the bridge hovering over still reflective water, and the three waterfalls: Yacolt Falls, Lucia Falls, and of course, Moulton Falls.
Captain William Clark Park at Cottonwood Beach
A fantastic spot for stunning sunsets, Captain William Clark Park at Cottonwood Beach is a great place to get out for some fresh air. On March 31, 1806, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark established a camp at Cottonwood Beach while they secured provisions for the return trip through the Columbia River Gorge. Almost 200 years later, a multi-jurisdictional effort celebrated the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial in 2006 by opening Captain William Clark Park at Cottonwood Beach. Now, in addition to the existing water access at Cottonwood Beach, the park also features multi-use trails, restrooms, historic interpretive elements, picnic shelters, and parking lots.
Cedar Creek Grist Mill
The picturesque Cedar Creek Grist Mill is the only grain grinding mill in Washington that has maintained its original structural integrity, grinds with stones, and is water-powered. Built in 1876, the mill has been fully restored as a working museum and is registered as a National Historic Site. The covered bridge spanning Cedar Creek adjacent to the mill was rebuilt in 1994 and adds a scenic backdrop to this popular site drawing visitors from all over the world.