Lacamas Lake Park
Lacamas Park is a surprising find smack in the middle of the town of Camas, and ideal for a quick fix of crisp Gorge air. Amid streams and waterfalls swelled winter’s runoff, you’re sure to forget the quaint Camas downtown is but a few minutes away.
Start from the 3rd Avenue trailhead. If you’re not paying close attention, it’s easy to drive right by and never know this hidden little oasis exists here. Right away, the path parallels Lacamas Creek, often busy with blue herons, standing like statues hunting their next meal. The path is wide and graveled with some rolling ups and downs as it works its way to a picnic spot and Lower Falls. Watch for mushrooms in the forest duff. Cross the bridge, where the trail splits, hiking in a counter clockwise loop will take you uphill for roughly 50% of the excursion, saving the best of the sights for last.
Follow the trail, here an old gravel road, taking time to explore the small offshoots. While the main loop trail is open to bikes, the side trails are hiker-only and are clearly marked. As you approach Round Lake, veer off to the left, skirting the southwest section of the lake, where the path narrows again as it winds against the steep shore. You’ll see where it leads up to the small dam and towards the main entrance (main parking lot/restrooms/playground/picnic areas). Rather, take the junction to hike back southeast, following Lacamas Creek and peering down at The Potholes from above. The pools and rock in this area are an interesting feature of the 312-acre park, but also easy to pass by, so keep your eyes on the water as you pass through this section.
If the sun peeks out during this time of year, it is likely to do so here, where the trees are a bit open and the angle right for soaking up some sunbeams. From here, the trail continues, narrow and winding, often muddy in the winter months, as it enters an area of cedar and lush vegetation. Remember, this is a quick outing, so just as the going gets really good, you’ll find yourself back at the bridge at Lower Falls. Turning right, follow the wide path back to the trailhead.
From Vancouver, drive SR-14 east to Camas, exit 12. Continue along the SR-14 Business Route, through the intersections with Dallas and Garfield Streets, then left into a gravel parking area.
Recent Trip Reports
trip reports for this hike.
Lacamas Lake Park
— May 15, 2011
— Ryan Ojerio
Water on trail
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After stopping by the produce store on NE Everett to pick up some snacks, Lola and I parked at the p...
After stopping by the produce store on NE Everett to pick up some snacks, Lola and I parked at the picnic area at Round Lake. From there we hiked around the lake taking in the camas loop trail taking a little over an hour including a bottle stop for Lola and lots of picture taking for me.
This was the first visit for us to the camas fields and it was spectacular, we will definitely be back each spring to see them! In addition to camas we saw quite a few trout lilies. The trillium have come and gone, but it looks like lupine are coming up next. We also saw lots of poison oak in the open areas on the camas lily trail!
Being a weekday afternoon we didn't see anyone on the camas trail and only a couple other people on the lake trail even though the parking area was nearly full.
Aside from the poison oak, this is a great hike for kids. While the trail around the lake is inviting to strollers, the dam at the south end of the lake has a narrow walkway with a railing so you'd have to carry your stroller over your head to cross it.
The camas lily trail is closed to bikes and not at all suitable for strollers as it is very rocky in places, so bring your baby in a backpack or Ergo. The camas lily trail is also wet and muddy in spots so wear appropriate shoes so you can stick to the trail and spare the flowers growing along side it.
Photo by Ryan Ojerio.
- South Cascades -- Columbia Gorge
- Vancouver-Clark County Parks
- Fall foliage
Good for kids
Dogs allowed on leash
No pass or permit required
Guidebooks & Maps
- Day Hiking: Columbia River Gorge. Craig Romano. Mountaineers Books. 2011
- USGS Camas, http://www.cityofvancouver.us/parks-recreation/parks_trails/trails/pdfs/lacamasparktrail.pdf