Trails of the ‘Couv’ Revisited

Vancouver is still a great place for urban trails and with the new waterfront up and running the trail selection has expanded. It is the intention of the Port of Vancouver to connect the current waterfront trail that starts at Columbia Shores and runs to the Warehouse 23 restaurant all the way through the new Terminal 1 development to the new Waterfront Park that opened last fall. Meanwhile the Trails of the ‘Couv’ continue to deliver and especially out in the area north of the Port, Vancouver Lake and along Highway 501, the trails and parks out there have been improved in recent years. Below is an article I posted 6 years ago right here that still rings true.

Originally posted on July 26th, 2013, by Rod Sager

Two weeks ago I wrote about a trip to Pittock Mansion in Portland. I boldly went where few fear not to tread and passed the SR-14 interchange into that strange world of Portlandia. During that trip my wife really enjoyed walking the Wildwood Trail in Forest Park.

That got me thinking about trails for hiking and biking locally in and around America’s Vancouver. Forest Park in Portland is a tough act to follow. It is a forest preserve that feels like a state park located in the middle of a large city. The forested areas are thick and lush. But worry not my fair residents of the original Vancouver, we have a few excellent hiking and biking trails as well. I find Traillink to be a great site for finding trails.

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This is the Burnt Bridge Creek Trail mapped on Traillink.
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Photo from TrailLink, Burnt Bridge Trail

The Burnt Bridge Trail was the first to pop into my head when I began thinking about this subject.  This trail runs from central Vancouver near I-205 on Burton Road at the Meadow Brook Marsh Park. The trail meanders through the city to the west where it ends up at Vancouver Lake 7.7 miles away. This is a true urban trail, it is mostly asphalt or concrete and moves from neighborhoods into city and county parks. The trail wanders over hills and down into forested valleys as it follows the Burnt Bridge Creek to its mouth at Vancouver Lake.

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Kyle and Betsy run near Lake Vancouver. © 2010, Rod Sager

I also have enjoyed taking my Lab out to Lake Vancouver for a run.  There is a great open area with marshes that Labs just love to splash around in. This area is quite literally right next door to Downtown Vancouver. The trails are a mix of paved and dirt and are suitable for hiking and biking. This is a great natural resource right in close to the city.

No talk of trails and hiking in and around Vancouver, USA is complete without mentioning the Shillapoo, Ridgefield and Steigerwald Lake, National Wildlife Refuge Areas that are in Vancouver, Ridgefield and Washougal respectively. These areas offer hiking and wildlife observation. Shillapoo NWR is just west of Vancouver Lake and less than three miles from Downtown. Ridgefield NWR is a little further up HWY 501 from Shillapoo and is also accessible from Ridgefield, WA. Steigerwald Lake NWR is along the Columbia River in Washougal, WA about 20 miles east of the ‘Couv’ on SR-14.

This just scratches the surface of hiking and biking in Vancouver. There is the Salmon Creek Greenway which is an urban preserve right off I-5. You can head east into the Cascade Foothills and utilize both State and Federal forest lands that cover more than a million acres all with access as close as 20 miles from Downtown and less than 7 from neighborhoods on the east side. Get out there and explore the wonderful trails of the ‘Couv’.

Do you have a favorite Hiking or Biking spot in Clark County? Drop a comment.

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