A gentle meandering barrier-free path leads through a mature cottonwood forest just west of Vancouver Lake. Although you can't see the lake through all the trees, there are other sights and sounds to enjoy along this route. Most notably the vibrant greens of the understory in spring, beautiful fall yellows and quite a few species of birds nearly all year.
To reach the trail from Vancouver Lake Regional Park, walk north past the large group picnic areas on a gravel road. The road enters the forest and continues for about 700 feet before turning west. Find the footpath right at this bend in the road.
From there it is about one mile through the forest before the trail ends at a dirt "road". A new bridge to the west crosses Buckmire Slough providing foot and bicycle access to the 501 spur near its dead end.
The entire length of this trail was built by volunteers from Washington Trails Association and Clark County. Construction was completed on February 18th, 2016.
You can also take the nearby Frenchman's Bar trail from the parking lot across the way to Frenchman's Bar Regional Park. The wide, paved path provides the perfect urban getaway for hikers and dog walkers alike—it’s also a favorite among birders. On clear days, you’ll be treated to views of Mount Hood, Mount Adams and Mount St. Helens.
As the trail proceeds past Vancouver Lake to Frenchman’s Bar Regional Park, it traverses the shore of the Columbia River, with views across the way to Sauvie Island and the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers, just north of Kelly Point Park.
With unhindered views of the Columbia River, open sandy beaches and mountain vistas, there’s plenty of room to stretch out in this southwest Washington backyard.
While dogs are permitted on the trail year-round, they are not permitted on the beach or surrounding turf area of Vancouver Lake Regional Park between April 1 and Oct. 31.
WTA volunteers completed construction of this trail in spring of 2016. The project was the culmination of several years of planning and multiple years of construction with partners including the Chinook Trail Association, AmeriCorps volunteers from the National Civilian Community Corps. The County helped to pay for construction materials with funds the Parks Foundation of Clark County through a grant sponsored by the Dorothy Langsdorf Trail Fund and the Langsdorf Family.