Fallen Leaf Park Hike

Hike Distance: 5.5 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 701.3 miles

Elevation Gain: 1127 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 83679 feet

This is a really nice park to visit, at least in the bad weather, as it can be very crowded.   It’s part of the Camas Park system and is very close to Lacamas Heritage Trail and Lacamas Park. I came here just to get some solitude because I knew there would be very few people on a day like today since it’s cloudy and forecast to rain.

I’m not going to try to explain the trail system here as it’s a convoluted set of trails that is much more extensive than you would ever expect.   I believe that most of the trail system originates from mountain bikers but I have rarely seen bikers on the trail.  Suffice it to say that I’ll be exploring most of the park and will try to make it to the Lacamas Heritage Trail, if possible, to add mileage?

I started out going south on some trails in the woods and it’s so full of Ivy and it’s just too bad.   You can tell people are working and removing it but there is way too much to remove.  As I expected, there’s plenty of mosquitoes since this area has a lot of swamps along with a nicely sized Fallen Lake.  Since the mosquitoes are out I applied picaridin to my hands and face.  I’m wearing rain gear and my insect Shield clothing isn’t exposed, so that won’t help for the mosquitoes.    There are a huge amount of lilies here but they’re not the same as the Camas Lily.   There are different types blooming and I wish I knew exactly what they were.   Some of these lilies are like a violet color and then there are lilies growing right next to the water which are yellow.

I’m going  south on the trail system and have come up to a baseball diamond on the south side of the park and I’m going counterclockwise around it.   As I do I can see there are trails that enter back into the Fallen Leaf Lake Park.  You can tell that some of the cut- in trails for the park must be for bikes only because they’re very steep!   I don’t know that I would go down them as I wouldn’t want to trip and tumble.

The trail system is in pretty good shape but I have been trimming some of the branches off the trail due to them draping over it.   The recent rains have caused the trails to be a bit slippery and there are many rounded rocks that are making it worse.  My Lowa Renegade hiking boots aren’t gripping well on much of the ground and I have to walk carefully.  It also doesn’t help that parts of the trail are sloped, and make slipping even more of an issue.  I’m glad I have my hiking poles to give me extra points of contact!

I have to admit that I feel somewhat lost, but the fact that it’s a small park doesn’t make me concerned.   If this were a large park this could be an issue, without a good map or gps.

An interesting situation has developed with my back pain, and the pain has now switched to my right side.  This gives validity to the fact that the leg lifts are making a difference!  I might have to back off 1mm on them so that I don’t have the pain on the right side now.   It’s all just an experiment and hopefully everything will even out and the pain will go away entirely?

The climb on the southwest side of the park is very, very nice with plenty of switchbacks, and it’s a good workout.   You can tell that this would be probably a lot of fun for the bikes, as they descend down the switchbacks.   It’s obvious this trail is highly utilized, for bikes, as the turns are all banked, like for a race car.  I wouldn’t want to be on the trail while bikes are on it, though.

Oh yes, now I remember having gone up in elevation here before.   There are expensive houses up with a beautiful view of Lacamas Lake, and the mountains.  I only have a glimpse where I’m at, but it looks quite impressive.   I went down one of the side trails towards some signs I saw, which were toward a nice home, not knowing what they said. There’s three warning signs saying they’re tired of hiding the bodies and that any trespassers will be shot and if you’re still living you’ll be shot again. There’s also what sounds like a very big dog barking.   What the heck are all these warnings, and are these people jerks, or am I somewhere I shouldn’t be?

Well I stand corrected and apologetic.   It turns out that part of the trail went on to a large piece of private land, and I don’t want to do that unless it’s an emergency.  I looked up on my Android app, OnX,  exactly where I was and there’s a landowner that has six and a half acres that goes from the house all the way back up the cliff and beyond. What is interesting is that Fallen Leaf Park, is owned by the City of Camas.  However,  most of the land around the park is actually owned by the Columbia Land Trust.   I would think that the Columbia Land Trust knows that there is a trail system here, and to my knowledge almost everybody else does, and my hike is even in the oregonhikers.org website.

I’ve already hiked over three miles, and that’s completely on the southern part of the trail system!  I’m just turning onto a trail that will take me to a road that north of fallen Lake.   The thing is, I haven’t even done all the trails.   The trail that swings around the western side of the lake is really nice and there are a couple of little walkway bridges over streams.  Some views of Fallen Lake can be seen on the western trails.

As I took the Winding Trail that went on the west side of the lake I finally reached an intersection with a paved trail that goes north and south. This paved trail gives access to the neigborhoods here, and the Lacamas Heritage Trail, via Lacamas Ln. (I believe). This is the only paved trail in this entire park, otherwise it’s all dirt (with embedded rounded rock).  I didn’t end up going to the Lacamas Heritage Trail, due to time.  A very nice day, albeit a bit humid.