Sunny spring days are approaching near Vancouver, WA and we’re gearing up for adventure! Grab your hiking shoes, paddles, or fishing pole and read on for fun must-try activities that the area offers.
Hiking in the Pacific Northwest is like no other and we’re lucky to have some of the best spots right in our backyard. From easy to difficult trails, you’ll be sure to find one that suits your desire of difficulty. Below are just a few of our recommendations.
Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge (Carty Unit) - Easy
An area once visited by Lewis and Clark, The Oaks to Wetlands trail at the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge provides ample walking and sightseeing opportunities for the whole family. At the refuge you will find multiple walking loops with the longest route being right around two miles. Keep your eyes out for eagles, sandhill cranes, swans, and more. While you’re there make sure you check out the Cathlapotle Plankhouse as well.
Moulton Falls - Moderate
Located about 40 minutes from downtown Vancouver, is Moulton Falls. Take a stroll down the mostly flat out-and-back trail for about 2.6 miles which follows along the Lewis River and takes you across the famous Moulton Falls picturesque bridge. This easy to moderate hike is perfect for all ages to enjoy. Additionally, find multiple other trails that stem from the main area if you’re looking for something more challenging.
Dog Mountain - Difficult
Hiking up Dog Mountain is quite the trek, but the scenery at the top in the spring can't be beat. With mostly an uphill ascent you're sure to get your heart pumping and we hope you’re not afraid of heights! When you reach the multiple viewpoints throughout the hike you will see picturesque views of the Columbia River Gorge and the gorgeous wildflowers surrounding your feet. As one of the busiest hikes in the area at this time of year, you’ll need to make sure you purchase a $1 permit before you make the hour trip from Vancouver for this adventure.
Feeling the wind blow in your hair and getting a good whiff of fresh air is sometimes all we need to feel renewed. And what better way to get that than to go for a bike ride. We included some of the best places to go for a casual weekend ride with the family, or if you’re looking for more excitement of mountain biking we still got you covered.
Salmon Creek Greenway Trail
With three miles of relatively flat paved trail, is the Salmon Creek Greenway Trail, this urban greenway just minutes from downtown Vancouver will allow you to see the beauty of the area's wetlands, bottomlands, and forested hillsides. On a clear day you may even get lucky and get a peek at the larger mountains in the distance, such as Mount Hood. Many have described this trail as the perfect spot to bring the whole family for a fun day of bike riding.
Listed as an intermediate ride and relatively short, at just over two miles, is the Round Lake Mountain Bike Trail in Camas. Riders have described it as having an array of terrain for all skill levels and also provides nice scenery. Being so close to Vancouver it can definitely be squeezed into a day of multiple activities or grab a drink afterwards at one of the nearby breweries like Grains of Wrath or A Beer at a Time.
It’s time to grab those paddles and hit the water! Or if you don’t have your own, that’s okay, luckily for you there’s a few places not too far from Vancouver that offer rentals right on the water.
Flowing through the Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge from the Columbia River to Vancouver Lake is Lake River. If you’re needing to rent gear, arrive at the Ridgefield Boat Launch and find your way down to Ridgefield Kayak Rentals or if you have your own set sail from the adjoining kayak launch. As you set out on a fun day do note the direction of the current and wind speed as it can fluctuate. With a peaceful setting as your backdrop Lake River provides enough waterway for a full day excursion or even just a couple hours.
Not too far from Downtown Vancouver nestled amongst the trees, on a warm Pacific Northwest day you will see Lacamas Lake scattered with colorful boats and families enjoying a refreshing dip into the water. With two easily accessible boat ramps there’s enough space to drop in your kayak or Sweetwater SUP Rentals is available to rent you everything you’d need for a fun day out on the lake.
Boasting a wide variety of fish year-round, Washington is a go-to state for anglers. With over 40,000 miles of rivers and thousands of lakes, many would argue that it’s one of the best places in the country to cast a line. Before you head out, do check regulations for fishing spots and gather your licenses.
Washington is one of the only places, besides Alaska, that you’ll be able to go after all salmon species of the Pacific. Through the spring and summer months you’ll find avid fishermen waking up early and anxiously waiting for their turn to hook a chinook salmon on the Columbia River. With many guide fishing boats located in and around Vancouver, you too could have the chance of catching this large salmon species.
Battle Ground Lake State Park
Battle Ground Lake State Park is located about 30 minutes from Vancouver and is a great escape from the hustle and bustle of downtown. Don’t forget your fishing pole either because thousands of fish are stocked annually. During the months of March through June you’re likely to catch rainbow trout along the shore.
Yale Reservoir and Lake Merwin
Make Vancouver your home base before you head out to a string of lakes, known as Yale Reservoir and Lake Merwin, about an hour away from town near Mount St. Helens. Here, in the spring, you’ll find the best fishing for kokanee, also known as silver trout. During this time they’re found in the shallower waters, so great for fishing from the shore.
Birds in the northwest have some of the best views available and now we have the opportunity to experience it too, with zip-lining! Both about 50 minutes from Vancouver high up in the trees are ZiplineX in Amboy (north of Vancouver) and Skamania Lodge Zipline Tours in Stevenson (east of Vancouver). With both only taking a couple hours to complete, this makes for a great daytime activity for the whole family. After a day of excitement head back to Vancouver for a bite to eat and wind down.
Looking for action, but want to stay inside? Consider indoor rock climbing or ax throwing right in downtown Vancouver.
The Source Climbing Gym
Whether you’re new at climbing or a seasoned professional, The Source has a climbing course for you. You can visit The Source for just one session or you can take part in their memberships, events, and classes. Also, no need to worry about not having your own gear, as they have shoes, harnesses, and chalk bags available to rent.
Coming soon to the downtown Vancouver scene is its first ax throwing house, Firehouse Axes. Its location, an original firehouse, built in 1932 has been remodeled to fit the relatively new sport, but still keeps the building's original charm. Grab your friends for a fun time of throwing axes and see who will hit the bullseye. Firehouse Axes also offers food and beverage options for those wanting their full experience.