Nestled in the forested foothills of Washington’s Cascade Mountains, Battle Ground Lake State Park is an easy escape from the local urban jungles. Located just 20 miles northeast of Vancouver, WA, and 30 miles northeast of Portland, OR, this small recreation area sits in quiet, evergreen woods, in the city named for an 1855 incident between the local Klickitat peoples and U.S. Army soldiers from nearby Fort Vancouver. The lake itself, in the center of the park, is actually in a volcanic crater, formed when a magma-induced steam explosion blasted a large hole in the ground, which subsequently filled with water. Visitors to Battle Ground Lake will find plenty of camping and outdoor opportunities in the park, with even more to discover in the surrounding area.
There are numerous ways to stay and play at Battle Ground Lake. The main campground offers 35 sites with picnic tables and fire pits; a few have partial hookups for RVs. There are showers and picnic facilities nearby. The park also has 15 hike-in campsites offering more rustic camping opportunities. For groups, there is a large area with four Adirondack shelters and a covered cooking area, and for equestrian campers, there’s a group area that provides corrals, picnic tables and a vault toilet. Inside the main campground, there are also four rustic cabins to rent, each with covered porches, outdoor grills, picnic tables and electric lights and heat; BYO bed linens. Seasonal campsite rates range from $12–$45; cabin rates range from $45–$79
While you may be inclined to just kick back and nap by the lakeshore, there’s plenty to do in the park and the surrounding area, including several miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails and a self-guided nature trail. Cool off with a dip in the lake, go for a paddle, or cast a line for rainbow trout and small-mouth bass. Just 20 miles west of the park, you can visit Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge and enjoy some of its exceptional bird watching. Or, drive one hour north for an exciting underground journey into the Ape Caves, a 2.5-mile long lava tube on the southern flank of Mount St. Helens. The lower portion of the tube is easy and family-friendly; the upper portion is a strenuous endeavor for the truly adventurous. Wear sturdy shoes, a jacket, and bring your own flashlight, as this volcanic subway is as wild as it gets.
This makes a nice weekend or day trip from Portland. They have a cool volcanic lake with a swimming area and great fishing. Its like a mini crater lake. I mean mini like pond size. I only rated what I did because it has one loop trail that goes around the lake so there really isn't much to explore. But if you're looking for a quick place for a picnic a swim or an overnight. This might be it. The campground is nice spacious and they have a few cabins.
Five springs feed this little volcanic anger management issue. There are tons o' fish - including a nine-foot sturgeon - and although it's officially 60 feet to the bottom in most parts of the lake, you'd sink a lot lower in the spongy ash. The lake's tumultuous past, however, has led to this serene, family-friendly wellspring. This site fills up with lots of kids (and lots of good parents), especially on the weekends, so party people can come by then. Those seeking more solitude and a fantastic swimming hole should consider weeknights. There are 10 miles of hiking trails as well, including maybe a mile version around the lake itself. The campsites go around too and the cabins look cool. The tall trees and abundant green overlays make this a wonderfully self-contained oasis five miles from the 16,000-strong town of Battle Ground and a few miles further from I-5.
Hiking around the lake is a great way to start and/or end you day while staying at Battle Ground Lake SP. Horses are welcome. There are cabins available also. Several sites overlook the lake.
Fishing and swimming are common here, but the lake often closes to swimming later summer season due to bacteria etc. in the water.
We opted for the walk-in sites which require you to hike about 1/4 mile in to get to them. There you will find some nice semi-private spots under a canopy of pine and maple trees. Picnic Table available at each site as well.
Battle Ground State park is a great park for floating and fishing in a lake. It will be packed on weekends with day trippers visiting.