Rolling hills of luscious green forests and the ever-changing seasons continue to be one of the most desirable aspects of living in the PNW. Among these forests lies incredible hiking trails in Clark County offering one-of-a-kind views and endless possibilities for both leisure and adventure.
After reading about the five best hikes near Vancouver, Washington, learn about how you can enjoy the majestic natural environment of the PNW at your Clark County home.
1. Best Easy Hiking Trail: Moulton Falls
One of the easiest hikes near Vancouver, Washington, is the popular Moulton Falls. This 5.3 mile out and back trail is classified as “easy," making it desirable for all levels of fitness and a great spot for a family walk. The trail itself follows the Lewis River, with an outstanding waterfall view. This popular hiking trail is only 45 minutes from Vancouver, Washington, and is accessible year-round.
Moulton Falls is captivating with its centerpiece waterfall and picturesque suspension bridge, perfect for photographers. The bridge offers stunning views of cascades and tranquil waters—a spot to pause and capture memories. Enjoy a refreshing dip in the swimming area amidst crystal-clear waters, indulging in the soothing sounds of flowing water in this serene oasis.
Hiking enthusiasts will enjoy the network of trails that meander through the surrounding woodlands. These trails cater to all levels of hikers, ranging from easy strolls to more challenging treks. Along the way, you'll be treated to glimpses of the river, charming footbridges, and lush greenery that make this hike a must.
2. Best Hike with a View: Silver Star Mountain
Silver Star Mountain is a hiker's paradise, boasting breathtaking panoramic views that unfold as you ascend the trail. From majestic mountains to verdant valleys, the scenery is simply incredible. Reaching the summit rewards you with a 360-degree spectacle, showcasing rugged peaks and distant horizons. Along the way, you'll encounter cascading waterfalls, vibrant wildflowers, and the peaceful ambiance of the forest. Each turn presents picture-perfect moments and new perspectives.
This challenging 6.3 mile trail with a 2,096 ft. elevation gain offers unmatched vistas of rolling hills and multiple mountains. It's an experience that leaves experienced wanderers and weekend warriors in awe. Whether you're an avid hiker looking for something new or a nature enthusiast seeking unforgettable scenery, hiking Silver Star Mountain is an experience like no other.
3. Best Waterfall Hike: Siouxon Trail
Deep in the heart of the Gifford Pinchot—just over one hour from Vancouver, Washington, lies the Siouxon Trail—a nature lover's paradise. This trail offers a quintessential Pacific Northwest experience, immersing you in the beauty of the old-growth forest in Washington. As you wander through the winding path, you'll find yourself enveloped by towering trees and accompanied by the melodic sounds of trickling streams that gracefully meander alongside the trail.
The Siouxon Trail, despite its 12 mile length, is considered a moderate hike with a gradual elevation gain of only 500 feet. Along the trail, hikers will be treated to numerous small waterfalls, as well as two stunning major cascades that add to the trail's allure. The trail offers a diverse range of waterfall experiences, from punch bowl plunge pools to cataracts and bridal veil displays. Camping spots are plentiful, especially before the Mile 5 marker. If you're seeking the best waterfall hikes in Washington, the Siouxon Trail is a must-visit destination within the scenic Gifford Pinchot National Forest.
4. Best Volcanic Views: Windy Ridge and Plains of Abraham
An iconic view of Mt. St. Helens and the opportunity to surround yourself with distant views of Mount Rainier and other notable peaks, Windy Ridge is a hiking trail worth taking the time to conquer. Although rated as moderate, this 8.4 mile trail can have its challenging points. Due to elevation, the trail is only accessible during the months of June-November. The trail is around 3 hours from Vancouver, Washington, but with camping grounds nearby, you can make the trip a weekend getaway.
As you traverse the Windy Ridge and Plains of Abraham trail, be prepared for changing weather conditions and gusty winds, as the area's name suggests. Throughout the hike, you'll have the opportunity to learn about the geological and ecological significance of the area and deepen your understanding of the 1980 volcanic eruption. With its captivating views, geological wonders, and the story of resilience it tells, the Windy Ridge and Plains of Abraham hiking trail offers an incredible adventure for nature enthusiasts and history buffs alike.
5. Best Challenging Hiking Trail: Hamilton Mountain Trail
The Hamilton Mountain Trail presents a variety of rugged terrain and steep inclines that will put your hiking skills and endurance to the test. As you ascend the trail, you'll encounter rocky sections, switchbacks, and elevation gains, making it a challenging experience. The trail is a 7.2 mile loop and only a one-hour drive from Vancouver, Washington.
One of the highlights of the Hamilton Mountain Trail is the punishing yet rewarding climb to the summit. At the top, hikers are greeted with breathtaking panoramic views of the Columbia River Gorge, including picturesque sights such as Beacon Rock and the river itself. The stunning vistas serve as a well-deserved reward for conquering the demanding trail.
Enjoy the Great Outdoors of Clark County
In the PNW, we have an awesome natural environment all around us. If you don't have time for a weekend getaway to one of the best hiking trails in and around Clark County, you can still enjoy the natural beauty around you right from your own backyard. North Light Builders specializes in outdoor living area additions. From a wood pergola to a fully-stocked outdoor kitchen, North Light Builders can do it all. Contact North Light Builders today to set up a consultation and find out more.