Hike Distance: 5.6 miles Yearly Hike Distance: 1885.1 miles
Elevation Gain: 194 feet Yearly Elevation Gain: 240873 feet
How do I describe this hike? This is a hike I’ve been not wanting to do for a very long time! You heard that correctly. This is a trail that parallels a highway near Battleground Washington. I found it on google maps, many years ago, while looking for local hiking opportunities, and put it on my list of hikes when I’m desperate and just don’t care where I go. Well, I’m trying to heal my back, and today was going to be a rainy day (which didn’t happen). If you decide to walk this 2.7 mile walkway then know there is no bathroom along the way!
My real purpose for hiking this walkway is that home and business development, in the Battleground area of Clark County Washington, is running rampant! 😦 Yes, everyone is moving to this area in the NE county as it’s beautiful and located in the reasonably low tax rate of Washington. Another perk is that Washington State has no income tax. You may ask, what kind of high paying jobs are here, and I would reply “I don’t believe there are many”. I’m not aware of there being many high paying jobs in SW Washington but there are plenty in Portland, OR. Yes, the drive to any place in Portland is a nightmare but there’s plenty of land in Washington so people move here and work in Portland.
I know about the nightmare travel to Portland as I worked in Wilsonville and commuted to Salmon Creek. Let’s just say that the commute almost killed me after 8.5 years and I couldn’t do it anymore. That said, many people are moving from areas that have even worse traffic and are willing to put up with this nightmare. Portland, from what I read, is in the top 10 worst traffic cities in the country, and I don’t doubt it. Another sad fact is that people think they’re moving to the pacific northwest for its beauty and outdoor activities but it’s being destroyed at an alarming rate. It’s tough to even enjoy the outdoors now because of the overcrowding (which is why I hike frequently on forest roads), and the amount of disrespect and trashing of these beautiful places!
Sorry for being long winded and whiny. As I was saying, the beautiful farms and open lands are being sold at a furious rate, along with this hwy 503 corridor, from SW Eaton Blvd to NE Caples Road. So, I decided to document the undeveloped places before they disappear completely. I did the same thing with one of the last large u-pick strawberry farm, and it’s now a 240 home subdivision. Sigh.
I parked at a shopping center on the north side of Eaton Blvd and crossed the road to start the trail. The land just south of Eaton is all for sale or already sold, and it’s beautiful farmland at the moment. There are some homes just off hwy 503 and I don’t know how they handle the noise or exhaust pollution. The noise and exhaust was terrible for the entire hike. I must have lost some of my hearing during this walk. 😦
Heading south you’ll see the farms and some homes, and there’s even a golf course that is being planned. Just think about those wonderful golf balls landing on Hwy 503, while the cars are moving at 60mph. Yikes! The trail meets up with a side street and this continues for about 3/10 mile. This happens to be a good place to park, and I met a women who frequents this trail and always parks there.
At the end of this side road you cross another road and continue on. The trail climbs, and there’s a nice forested area here. The trail then descends and goes down to the Salmon Creek basin. I found a side trail that heads toward a pond but it terminates in mud. I don’t know if this is a real trail but there’s plenty of garbage, indicating it’s used by people. Continuing along the hwy 503 trail there are great scenic views of Salmon Creek and a couple large ponds! This area is the only redeeming factor for this walkway. Unfortunately, the walkway in the area of Salmon Creek is separated from Hwy 503 by a low barrier. I was scared or a vehicle picking up a rock and killing me, while in this area.
After passing the Salmon Creek area the trail continues past a business and other farms and homes until you reach NE Caples Road. The trail terminates in some crosswalks here. Please note that all the road crossings have lights and are very safe. I turned around and high-tailed it back to my car. I’ll never walk this path again but am glad I did it once!