If you live near Vancouver, Washington, several nearby trails offer excellent winter riding, so you can ride all winter long. Here are four of my favorites:
Whipple Creek Park
Whipple Creek Park used to be a muddy, slippery mess in winter, but thanks to the tireless efforts of a dedicated cadre of volunteers, the trails at Whipple Creek have now been graveled. Now you can enjoy all-weather riding through beautiful woods. The equestrian parking at Whipple Creek Park is located due west of the Clark County Expo Center, off NW 179th St.
The dike along the Columbia River in Washougal is a delightful place to ride in winter. You have the river on one side of the trail, and the Steigerwald Wildlife Refuge on the other. Birds and other wildlife are plentiful, and on clear days you’ll have a view of Mt. Hood. The gravel road along the top of the dike is shared with hikers and bikes, but the lines of sight are very long so you can see them coming. You can access the dike at Captain William Clark Park in Washougal.
Moulton Falls Trail
The Moulton Falls Trail starts at the Hantwick Road Trailhead off NE Lucia Falls Road near Battle Ground. This 2.5-mile (one way) forested trail runs to Moulton Falls Park on an old roadbed. You’ll be paralleling the East Fork Lewis River as it tumbles over boulders and flows through deep green pools. While the first 0.8 mile of the trail is paved, the rest is compacted gravel that provides good winter footing.
Battle Ground Lake State Park
Battle Ground Lake State Park offers about 5 miles of nice equestrian trails that are open year round. The trails roughly follow the perimeter of the park, and several loop options are possible. While the trails can be muddy in rainy weather, after a few dry days the footing should be good. The horse trailer parking area is at the junction of NE Palmer Road and NE 182nd Ave. near downtown Battle Ground.
You’ll find more information about these trails in Riding Southwest Washington Horse Trails, by Kim McCarrel, (Ponderosa Press, 2016), available at www.nwhorsetrails.com.