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Columbia Springs

Southwest Washington

Location

Southwest Washington -- Vancouver Area
View map below

Length

0.3 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 10 ft.
Highest Point: 20 ft.

Rating

4.00 out of 5

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Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None
 
 

Just east of Vancouver, off the Evergreen Highway is a delightful little park that houses a fish hatchery (complete with feeding pond), a small greenspace, and three little trails that are friendly to even the littlest hikers.

The Columbia Springs Environmental Education Center has three main trails that range from 1/16 of a mile long, to 1/3 of a mile. The Hemlock Trail, found at the east end of the park, is the shortest, but arguably has the best diversity of scenery. Coming from the parking area, the full walk may be closer to 1/8 of a mile, but on the way, you'll pass the fish rearing ponds, including one where you can feed young rainbow and brown trout. Past the ponds is a short walk to the Cordwood Classroom.

The trail begins just behind the classroom, but before you head there, go to the viewing area over West Biddle Pond. On sunny days, young trout can be seen warming themselves here. How many can you count?

After watching the fish for a while, head behind the Cordwood classroom, where you'll see the Hemlock Trail heading off to the right. Stairs carry you down, just above thick groundcover and along the north side of West Biddle Pond. Climb back up on both stairs and trail, to a fork. The right hand trail loops back to the viewing platform for the 1/16 mile loop, but a very short side trail heads through an open grassy space and ends at a viewing platform over quieter East Biddle Lake.

If it's a longer loop you're after, from the parking lot try either the Cedar Circle Trail or the slightly shorter Trillium Trail. Both are accessible from the west side of the parking area, though to reach the Cedar Circle Trail, you'll need to walk west on the sidewalk away from the parking area, looking for an unsigned trail on your right.

Both trails go through thick understory and soaring deciduous canopy. Look for trillium at your feet, and various leaves and blooms above your head as you hike. Both of these trails loop around themselves and deliver you back to the parking area in less than a mile.

Though the trails are not ADA-accessible, they are friendly to just about every other ability of hiker, and Columbia Springs is free and open to the public from dawn to dusk each day.

 

Columbia Springs

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 45.5994, -122.5455 Open map in new window

Trailhead

Southwest Washington -- Vancouver Area

Columbia Springs Environmental Education Center

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Guidebooks & Maps

http://www.columbiasprings.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/CSmap.jpg

Getting There

Coming from Vancouver on Highway 14, take exit 5 for SE Ellsworth Road, and turn right. Then almost immediately, make a left onto SE Evergreen Hwy. Cross under a large freeway bridge, and look for the parking area on your left.

Coming from Camas on Highway 14, take exit 8 for SE 164th Avenue, and turn left onto SE 164th Avenue, then almost immediately, make a sharp right onto SE Evergreen Hwy. Proceed about two miles to the parking area--the third entrance on your right.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None
 

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Columbia Springs

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