Battle Ground Lake, a spectacular water-filled volcanic crater, located in Battle Ground Lake State Park, has been a favorite spot for swimming, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, and camping in Washington state for over a hundred years. Formerly the site of a private resort, Battle Ground Lake State Park is now a 280-acre popular public destination for area families and fishermen.
Just outside the northwestern town of Battle Ground, and a short drive from I-5 and I-205, this state park and campground are open year-round for simple day-use visits and longer RV and tent camping stays. The heavily wooded park is ringed by trails for horseback riding and hikers.
Two loop trails ring the lake directly and are a popular stop for on-leash dog walkers, as well as mountain bike riders. Though swimmers can make the park a bit busy on summer weekends, by fall the entire place is quiet and serene, and hikers often happen upon birds, deer, and other wildlife while rounding the lake.
The lake has been stocked with fish for generations and has become a very popular spot for trout fishing in the fall and winter. Non-motorized boats are welcome on the lake, with a 60-foot boat dock and small boat launch available.
In summer, the swim area and day-use picnic spots see lots of families with kids. The water is shallow and warms up nicely in stretches of sunny weather. Giant logs are often drifting by the shore, and keep the kids entertained for hours. Large sandy and grassy areas adjoin the lake so parents can comfortably keep an eye on those in the water, as well as drying off in the sun before taking off.
Best of all, this northwestern park is a stunningly beautiful place to get in touch with nature. The towering evergreen forests of Battle Ground Lake State Park are the subject of both professional and amateur photographers alike. Moss-covered Douglas firs, mountain hemlocks, and lodgepole pines grow much fuller and taller here than in other areas of the continent because the area is a temperate rain forest. The short summers are dry and warm, but the fall, winter, and spring tend to be rainy and overcast, creating the lush tropical look of the Pacific Northwest.
Battle Ground Lake State Park is conveniently accessed via I-5, making it a short drive from several northwest cities you may want to visit on your RV trip to the Pacific Coastal region. The park is just an hour and a half south of Olympia and 30 minutes northeast of Vancouver, WA. It's also a short 40-minute drive north of Portland, OR, a popular tourist destination. The town of Battle Ground is only a 15-minute drive from the park, where you can pick up any groceries or supplies you need for your RV camping trip to the park, or you can spend an evening in town at a local restaurant before heading back to the trailer.
Once inside the park, you will find the roads suitable for small trailers and RVs. Because there are only six sites with power, reserving your campground well in advance is recommended.
This small campground offers 35 standard campsites, some of which are pull-through sites accommodating RVs up to 40 feet long. Six sites are RV-specific sites with 20- and 30-amp electric-only hookups. There are 15 primitive walk-in, tent-only campsites, requiring a bit of hike to access. There are also two primitive equestrian campgrounds with horse stalls.
Full restrooms, coin showers, drinking water, and a dump station are located nearby for your convenience. There are picnic tables, fire rings, some covered day-use shelters, and a play area in addition to the swim area and boat launch at the lake.
The rustic cabins at Battle Ground Lake State Park are nestled among the huge Douglas firs and are just a short walk from the lake. Cabins sleep five, have heat, and electric lights, as well as a large covered porch. Outside, guests will enjoy a picnic table, fire grill, deck, and an RV pad for an additional fee. Restrooms and coin-operated showers are within walking distance. No smoking or pets are allowed in the cabins.
With only 35 standard sites and six RV sites with 20- and 30-amp electric service, reservations are highly recommended; however, if there are any unreserved sites available, you may be able to rent them on a first-come, first-served basis.
The loop trails will take you into the heavily wooded backside of the lake where you're bound to see and hear the forest and the lake come to life. A large variety of birds, such as woodpeckers, owls, and herons make their home in the park. During the fall, many migratory birds can be seen visiting the park on their way down from Canada, such as ducks, snow geese, and bald eagles. All year round small animals can be found in the park's woods. Squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, and raccoons make their presence known here. Early morning hikers usually get the best chance at seeing animals in the woods.
Battle Ground Lake State Park is a beautiful place to ride horses. Several miles of the park's trails covering the entire perimeter are designated for equestrian use. The park has two reservable horse campsites located in the secluded northwest corner of the park. The horse camps, although primitive, feature four two-stall corrals, water spigot, one chemical toilet, fire rings, and four picnic tables. The equestrian camp needs to be reserved in advance and horse owners need to camp onsite.
The woods around Battle Ground Lake are very scenic, and there is great access via two adjoining loop trails. Each trail loops the lake in about one and a half miles. One trail stays close to the shore and navigates rocks, tree roots, and logs while providing lots of nice views of the lake. The second loop is located higher on the hillside above the lake and offers a little more exercise than the first. Both are popular with families and dog walkers all year round. Because of the obstacles, little ones will probably need to be carried.
Amateur and professional photographers come to Battle Ground Lake State Park year-round to shoot the lush landscape. Towering Douglas firs, lodgepole pines, moss-covered Alaskan cedars, and even a few mountain hemlocks cover the park's landscape and surround Battle Ground Lake. Nestled at the base of the western Cascades, this park is picture-perfect. So, whether you want to capture a bald eagle perched on a mountain hemlock or the reflection of an evergreen forest in the glass-like lake, pack your best camera, and point your motorhome toward Battle Ground Lake State Park.
Battle Ground Lake State Park is a perfect place to hang out even if you don't have a reservation to stay overnight at the campground. There are picnic tables and fire rings, some of which are even covered, scattered throughout the park. Large grassy areas, the swim beach, a boat dock, and the playground all combine to make this a great place to come for the day. A giant kitchen shelter is available to reserve for special occasions and parties. No matter where you choose to picnic in the park, the backdrop of Battle Ground Lake and the surrounding majestic forests will make any outing a day to remember.
With an inviting sandy area close to the water and a large grassy section above, the swim area at Battle Ground Lake is pretty close to perfect. The water is fairly shallow by the shore and drops off very gradually. The lake is a popular swim spot with families and kids from Battle Ground and Vancouver looking to cool off when the heat and humidity pick up. Keep the kids entertained all day while you read a book on the grass - a perfect summer day.
Battle Ground Lake is an idyllic small lake perfect for kicking back with a fishing pole. The lake has been stocked with fish for over 100 years and is well known as a productive spot for large rainbow trout, cutthroat, grass carp, and crappie. Largemouth bass and bluegill are abundant here as well. Two-pole fishing is allowed with a Washington state fishing license. There is a dock and a small boat launch, but only non-motorized boats are allowed.
Fishing from the shore is easy and effective at this lake. The best fishing is in April, but the fishing is good year-round as this lake is stocked regularly. Hook and bait fishing are the most effective, so make sure you pack your motorhome with everything you need for your fishing trip. Check with the WDFW for regulations.
Battle Ground Lake is the perfect place to drop in your kayak or paddleboard for a stress-free day on the water. The calm, crystal clear water is a favorite of paddlers from all around the area, and if you don't have your own, it's easy to rent one. You can reserve a kayak or paddleboard online, where you will be given a PIN number to pick up your paddleboard from a Paddleez locker right inside the park. When you are done, you just return it to the locker and head home to your RV.