The year-round equestrian trails at Battle Ground Lake State Park take you through the park’s beautiful forest and allow you to ride loops of varying lengths. The park also has a small horse camp. And it’s only 4 miles from downtown Battle Ground, Washington.
5 miles of trails
250 feet of elevation gain
Highlights include easily-accessible day-use riding on beautiful forested trails
Battle Ground Lake got its name from an incident in 1855 that occurred near what we now call Battle Ground Lake. Tensions between settlers and the local Indians had been rising, and the settlers around Fort Vancouver expected a battle between the US Army and the local Klickitat Indians. The battle didn’t occur, but Chief Umtux was shot dead during the night. The name for the area stuck.
Battle Ground Lake itself lies within a volcanic caldera and is believed to be a miniature version of Oregon’s Crater Lake.
The horse trails circle the perimeter of the park, running under a dense canopy of Douglas-firs. Vine maples and alders grow in the understory, providing spectacular color in autumn. Sword ferns, thimbleberries, and snowberries cover the ground. The verdant forest is the star of the show on these trails.
The horse trail departs from the southwest and southeast ends of the main horse trailer parking area. On the east side of the park there is only one possible route, but on the west side you’ll find several trails that make loops of various lengths as they travel up and down the low hills.
The horse camp at Battle Ground Lake is available by reservation only. It offers four sites, each with a 2-horse corral, barbecue, and picnic table. Only two of the sites are level, but all have room for two trailers.
From I-5, take the Battle Ground exit (Exit 11) and head east on NE 219th St. In about 6 miles you’ll cross Hwy. 503 and the road will become Main St. as you enter downtown Battle Ground. Continue straight ahead for 3.0 miles and turn left on NE 182nd Ave. After 1.1 miles the road bends a little and becomes NE Crawford Rd. In 0.3 mile turn left on NE 249th St. Drive 0.1 mile to the junction with NE Palmer Road and NE 182nd Ave. Continue straight ahead to enter the park. In 500 feet turn left into the day-use trailer parking area.
You can learn more about the riding at Battle Ground Lake State Park in Riding Southwest Washington Horse Trails, by Kim McCarrel, (Ponderosa Press, 2016). Available at www.nwhorsetrails.com.