Lewis & Clark State Park contains one of the last intact stands of old-growth forest remaining in the Cowlitz Valley, as well as five miles of trails for hikers to explore.
The park was established in 1922 to preserve remaining old-growth forest along the state highway system. The park played host to a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp during the Great Depression; young men between the ages of 18 and 25 were employed at the camp and completed much of the park's early development.
The park's day-use area still appears much as it did after the CCC's work was completed, featuring several rustic picnic shelters and restrooms made from native logs and stone.
Several trails in the area make up the 5-mile network, including a small loop in the southwest corner of the park. The trail is an easy walk, including high canopy forest with old-growth Douglas-fir and western redcedar.
Begin from an open parking area near Campgrounds 19 - 25. The trail begins at a gate across an access road leading uphill into old-growth forest. A trail comes in from the east and heads west. This leads to the west side of the park at the edge of the park, but you'll follow a wide, former service road in a short loop through this small grove of old-growth.
If you'd like to add on an adventure, hike the Trail of the Deer among massive columns of western redcedars and Douglas-firs,where ferns, vine maples and rhododendrons adorn the trailside. Watch for woodpeckers, Steller's jays and great horned owls in the canopy overhead.
Detour onto the Old-Growth Forest Loop to admire the ancient cedars before returning to the main loop. After your hike, visit the nearby John R. Jackson House, the first European pioneer home north of the Columbia River.