Battle Ground Lake-30 Minutes From Vancouver, WA

This is my 2nd in the spring break series. I hope you enjoy it.

Have you ever been to Battle Ground Lake? It’s known as a more minuscule version of Crater Lake in Oregon due to having a volcanic origin. It is gorgeous. Paths wind around the 280 acres of forest. While traveling on land can be done via horseback or on foot, there is more to discover in the lake which can be explored by kayak, scuba, boat, raft, or swimming. The lake is amply stocked with fish, only the beginning of the wildlife present in this park. You can stay for a day or rent a campsite with or without a cabin and stay longer.

My son watches ripples from the rocks he threw in the water,.

My cousin, my son, and I set out under sporadically rainy skies to go to one of the prettiest spots in our “neck of the woods”. We used our annual Washington State Discover Pass for parking. If you don’t have one and can afford it, what are you waiting for? At roughly 10 dollars a day to enter a park, and 35 dollars for a pass, the pass will literally pay for itself in 4 trips. There are at least six state parks within an hour’s drive of Vancouver, WA. How crazy is that? I’m getting off my soapbox, but it offers so much! Find out more here:

The Trails

The trails are fabulous any day. While my cousin and I were hoping to walk the trails on edge of the lake, my son chose to explore some we hadn’t walked before. We wound through the forest, lined with moss and fern, mud, and horse “evidence”. The loveliness of the trees was not lost on me. After ending our walk, we headed to the covered areas near the playground to enjoy or packed lunch and to allow my son to exercise muscles not used on the walk. The sun broke through the clouds, shining through a white blossomed ladened tree, congratulatory confetti hanging from the sky for a walk well done. For maps and more info on the trails, etc., look here:

The way into some of the trails is evident. In others, less so. All are worth exploration

The Water

The lake is gorgeous and serene. The only “interruptions” were fish being caught and one opportunistic bald eagle looking for prey. It rested calmly in a tree above while excited visitors snapped photos, then flew low to the lake. We hoped to get a photo of it catching a fish, but alas, no such luck. My son takes his zen moments by throwing rocks in the water and did so for roughly half an hour. The fish seemed undisturbed by the rythumic splashes.

The fishing was amazing to see, a bit like coming home to me. Some of my earliest memories involve fishing with my dad and family, immediate, extended, and adopted. I landed my first job at 15 and a half at a retail fishing pole parts store. This is where I first learned that a custom-made rod is a piece of art and saw a fly fisherman practice his craft in the shop’s large adjacent field. Watching fish being reeled in every 30 seconds or so gave me a deeply ingrained thrill and a vicarious sense of comradery.

A bald eagle rests in a tree before searching for fish below (photo credit- Teresa MacKay).
A young man displays his catch, 3 of several caught that day.


There is a playground at the park but two of the last times I’ve been there it has been in need of repair. Once there was a hornet nest and this time one side of it was roped off. It is a bit outdated, but the children don’t seem too mind.

There are kayaks for rent. I’ve yet to rent one, but they always in use. There are sometimes lifejackets available to borrow. It does get busy in the summer months. We had to dodge a great deal of horse “evidence” on the trails where they ride, but this is to be expected. When I walked the one that circled the lake, there was none. This park definitely gets an eight out of ten if not nine out of ten by my vote, and there have been times I’ve given it a 10. All in all, it’s just a lovely place to go in nature with those you love.

The small playground is narural, if outdated. It serves the purpose though, leading children to further recreation and exercise that the lake cannot provide.

Speaking of those I love, this day wouldn’t have been possible without my dear sister cousin Teresa MacKay. Teresa, many was the day you would take me exploring in the field and forest near your home when we were children. Thank you for remaining dear to my heart, being a wonderful “Auntie Teesa” to my son, and for being willing to explore with me in our adult years.

Reader, dream fearlessly, follow your passion, and remember, just because it’s in your backyard doesn’t mean it’s not worth a visit.

Thanks for reading- Tammy

Published by nearvancouver

Dreaming big and traveling locally in or near Vancouver, WA.

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