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Salmon Creek Park/Trail
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Salmon Creek TrailWhat’s to Love: When we moved to the Pacific Northwest in 1999, we couldn’t find affordable rent in Portland, so we ended-up in Vancouver. After hanging out in Portland, we realized that it was a much better match for us. Thus, we left Vancouver after about 3-4 months with a pretty unfavorable impression of the area. Indeed, Vancouver (the ‘couv’) takes quite a bit of punishment from Portlanders. However, in terms of outdoor recreation (specifically bicycling on paved-paths), Vancouver has many opportunities that mirror Portland’s excellent reputation as a “biking town.”

Salmon Creek TrailSalmon Creek Park offers excellent “family biking” on the Salmon Creek Trail. It’s a 3 mile, paved-path along Salmon Creek. If your kids are older, the ride can be made into a loop with some on-road cycling. I’ve included some links to Vancouver’s online biking maps. However, for most beginning cyclists, an out-and-back ride will do just fine.

Salmon Creek TrailThe park also includes “Klineline Pond,” which is a man-made lake with some sandy shores, a concessions-area, and a lifeguard in the summer. There is even a sun-bathing dock out in the water, which is rare sight around here. If swimming isn’t your thing, try a little fishing from the shore or from one of several fishing docks. The pond is stocked with trout.

Playground at Salmon Creek ParkFinally, your kids can finish off the day with a little climbing on the park’s play structure, which isn’t very big but does have a few innovative pieces. Right next to the play structure, you’ll find a “spray park” that is perfect for kids 2-8. Here is a clip of the area.

Caveats: Salmon Creek is very clean and well-kept. We were there on a rainy day, and it was pretty slow. However, my guess is that this place gets overrun on hot, weekend days. The shaded picnic benches are nice, but there probably aren’t enough if the place gets crowded. The proximity to the highway is a negative, but at least the developers put up a concrete wall to keep out excessive noise pollution.

The bike path is VERY nice, but it is mostly straight and flat. This was perfect for my 4 year old son, but older kids will probably be bored with the riding. It’s also not a loop-ride.

Website: Vancouver Parks’Google MapSalmon Creek Trail

Distance from Portland: It’s about 15 miles from downtown Portland

Recommended Ages: The playstructure has a sign that says it’s for kids 5 – 8 years old, which is pretty accurate. Toddlers won’t have to much to do on this structure. They will probably be happier in the “spray park.” This is a great park to bring older kids to do some fishing or field sports.

Parental Stress Factor: For biking, this is a low-stress path. It’s wide, smooth, flat and straight. The park has plenty of space, but may get crowded in the summer.

Physical Difficulty:  Fully accessible park!  The paved-paths are very nice and perfect for wheel-chair access.  Hiking, biking and walking are easy here.

Family Fun Factor: High! This is a destination park worthy of high praise for the whole family. There are just so many options for a wide range of ages (fishing, biking, hiking, roller-blading, soccer, baseball, frisbee, playground, picnics, etc.).

Pet Friendly: Dogs are welcome on the paved, Salmon Creek Trail; however, they are not welcome inside the “developed area” of Klineline Pond, and Salmon Creek proper. If you’re planning on spending time at the park, you might want to leave your dog at home.

Weather Considerations: We went on an overcast/rainy day, and it was very slow. If you’re going to bike, this is a year round destination. If you’re more interested in swimming, obviously, you might want to wait it out until the summer months.

Salmon Creek TrailInsider Info: There is a lifeguard on duty during the summer months, and there are several rules consistent with some larger pools. Please consult their website for more information. If you’re fishing, the trout must be at least 8″ to keep, and you must have a valid fishing license, even though it’s a park pond.

If it’s a busy weekend, bring a blanket for your picnic – it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to get a picnic bench.

Spray Park at Salmon Creek ParkFamily Tips: If you’re planning on a BBQ, bring your own grill. There are only 3 grills next to picnic tables, and I’m sure they get snatched-up right away. If you want the covered picnic areas, you’ll have to reserve them through Vancouver Parks and Recreation (see website above).

Technorati Tags: Klineline, Fishing Pond, Vancouver, Salmon Creek Park, paved-bike path, Salmon Creek Trail, fishing, kids

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7 Comments


  1. Si tous les blogs pouvaienrt être aussi jolis et intéressants ue le tien, ce serait bien 😉 bonne contiinuation ! a+

  2. Thank you very much Laure! I don’t speak French, but I’ll take the “A+” part as a good sign. 🙂 Vince

  3. Is the path smooth enough for a bike with training wheels (5 year old) and a 3 year old on a scooter? Thanks, Robin

  4. Thanks for sharing! After I found it here, I went and checked it out with the fam and it is a beautiful place. Gotta go see it again. Next time Ill bring the camera.

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