With smaller crowds, cooler weather, and beautiful scenery, autumn in the Pacific Northwest is one of the best times of year to hit the trail. Soak in the fall foliage on these hikes near Vancouver WA for maximum seasonal enjoyment.
Silver Star Mountain
The trailhead is about 40 miles northeast of downtown Vancouver, but it will take about an hour and a half to get there on winding back roads. The more than 1,000 feet of elevation gain rewards you with views of four mountain peaks on a clear day.
This flat, out-and-back trail follows the curves of the Lewis River and crosses a picturesque footbridge. The trail is wide with offshoots to other more difficult trails, like Bells Mountain. Continue the adventure at Moulton Falls Winery just up the road.
The well-maintained seven-mile loop is the closest Columbia River Gorge hike to Vancouver. Find waterfalls throughout the trail, and don’t skip the overlook view to see fields of golden trees surrounding the river.
You’ll have to drive about 95 miles for this one, but it’s well worth the lake views on the north side of Mount St. Helens. Circumnavigate the whole body of water for a 12-mile trek with 1600 feet of elevation gain, or it’s easy to cut it short and turn it into an out-and-back. Bring your NW Forest Pass and leave the pups at home.
Only a 15-minute drive from downtown Vancouver, the forested trail is a true escape from the city. Share the 4.3 miles of trails with horses, dog walkers, and bikers as you take in the scenery and watch the leaves change color.
Cedar Creek Grist Mill
This picturesque location may not be a grand hike but is worth a walkabout when seeking fall foliage. Just over 30 minutes from downtown Vancouver, the 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. The covered bridge spanning Cedar Creek adjacent to the mill adds a scenic backdrop to this popular site, drawing visitors worldwide (especially in the fall season).