What’s to Love: This 312 acre park within a mile of downtown Camas, WA offers many recreational opportunities including: bird watching, hiking, fishing, and mountain biking. We spent most of our time mountain biking the Lacamas Park Trail, which offers around six miles of trails and does a loop around Round Lake. There is also the Lacamas Heritage Trail, which is a 3.5 mile trail along the west side of Lacamas Lake.
We started biking from the southern trailhead, which is located near the intersection of E 1st Avenue and NE 3rd Avenue in Camas. Parking here is a mellow way to get started and offers plenty of loop options for biking. After crossing a bridge over Lacamas Creek, we headed left to check out the lower falls, which was a mistake on bikes. This trail is filled with rocks, drop-offs, tree roots, and plenty of stiff little ups and downs. We ended up constantly getting on and off our bikes to walk sections.
Finally, we made it to Round Lake, which was a relief. For the most part, the trail that circumnavigates the lake is good for kids and families. In the NW corner of the lake, you’ll find a playground with some nice picnic spots (tables, and grills included!) right along the water. The NE corner of the lake has a pretty big hill that will force many people to walk; however, it doesn’t last too long, and the downhill is awesome!
Although a really nice park, it is close to the paper mill in downtown Camas, which can occasionally put a foul smell into the air for miles.
Website: Lacamas Lake Regional Park
Distance from Portland: It’s about 20 miles from downtown Portland. It’s a quick trip in light traffic. The southern trailhead is easy to miss off NE 3rd Avenue. It looks like a driveway, but there is a small sign marking the trailhead. Here is Google map.
Recommended Ages: If you’re biking with small kids, stick to the main trails, which are solid lines on the map (look in the intro paragraph for links). The single track/side-trails (dotted lines on map) are for intermediate to advanced riders. Older kids who enjoy a challenge will probably be okay with tackling some of the more difficult terrain; however, they should be prepared for rocks, tree roots, and stiff hill sections. All trails are great for hiking, even with small kids.
Parental Stress Factor: If you’re hiking and/or headed for a picnic at the playground, it will be a stress free outing. Mountain biking with kids always involves a level of stress depending on the terrain and level of the riders. Make sure your kids’ bikes are tuned-up. Bring a repair kit and a way to fix flat tires.
Physical Difficulty: Biking around Round Lake is mostly easy, but it does have a very hilly section – you will get worked, especially if you have to push up your bike and your kid’s bike. Hiking shouldn’t be too difficult for most folks. I’d rate the hiking as easy.
Family Fun Factor: If you combine some biking, hiking, playground action, and a picnic with some grilling, I’d rate this as high on the family fun factor scale. There are plenty of things to do. The park is pretty spotless – I didn’t see any trash or people doing rogue camping. It’s a very well-kept park.
Pet Friendly: Dogs on leashes are okay.
Weather Considerations: Best to hike this on a clear and sunny day, but it’s open year round.
Insider Info: There are plenty of options for loop hikes. Consult the maps before you head out and have a good plan together. You’ll definitely want to head to the “lower falls,” which is a beautiful spot and allows river access. Just make sure you’re careful and keep a close eye on your kids! You would not want them to fall in here!
Family Tips: If you plan on hiking some of the side trails, a jogging stroller (like a BOB) is okay. You may have to lift it over some rocky spots. A backpack carrier is a better option for side trail exploration. If you stick to the main trail, a jogging stroller is your best bet.