Explore Clark County on Two Wheels: Best Cycling Routes and Safety Tips

Clark County boasts a diverse geography that makes it a prime destination for cyclists. From scenic river trails and rolling hills to lush forests, the county offers a variety of landscapes that cater to different cycling preferences.

This blog will guide you through the six best cycling routes in the area. We’ll break down what makes each route special, how challenging it is, how far you’ll be riding, and essential safety tips for a smooth and safe ride. So, gear up and get ready to discover the best cycling experiences Clark County has to offer.

Cycling Community

Clark County is home to a vibrant cycling community, with numerous clubs and organizations that foster a welcoming and supportive environment for cyclists. The local cycling scene is bolstered by events such as the Ride Around Clark County and regular group rides organized by clubs like Vancouver Bicycle Club and Bike Clark County.

These groups offer resources, workshops, and social events that help cyclists of all ages and skill levels improve their riding techniques and stay informed about cycling safety. Additionally, bike shops and repair stations scattered throughout the county provide essential services, making it easy for cyclists to maintain their bikes and access necessary gear.

Best Cycling Routes in Clark County

Burnt Bridge Creek Trail

The Burnt Bridge Creek Trail is a versatile paved path that winds its way through the heart of Vancouver, following the flow of Burnt Bridge Creek. This scenic, family-friendly route offers a peaceful ride for all ages. It traverses a variety of areas, including urban areas, parks, and natural landscapes.

Difficulty Level: Easy

Distance: 7.8 miles (can be divided into sections due to multiple access points)

Vancouver Lake Loop

The Vancouver Lake Loop offers stunning views of Vancouver Lake and the surrounding wetlands. The shorter loop is a paved loop trail within the Vancouver Lake Regional Park and is ideal for a quick, easy ride or a family outing. On the other hand, the longer loop incorporates the Vancouver Lake North Trail, a scenic gravel path that follows the western shore of the lake.

Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate

Distance: 1 mile (shorter loop) or 4.3 miles (longer loop)

Columbia River Renaissance Trail

This trail is a scenic paved path that connects downtown Vancouver with waterfront attractions, offering stunning views of the Columbia River and Mount Hood in the distance. The trail also passes through several parks, public places, historic sites, and even shops and restaurants, making it a great choice for a recreational ride with plenty of stops to explore.

Difficulty Level: Easy

Distance: 5 miles (out and back) with numerous access points for shorter rides.

Frenchman’s Bar Trail

This paved path connects Vancouver Lake Park to Frenchman's Bar Park, offering a smooth ride and ample picnic spots along the way. On a clear day, you can catch a glimpse of Mount Hood, Mount Adams, and even Mount St. Helens in the distance. Moreover, the wide, multi-use trail is great for a casual cruise or a training ride.

Difficulty Level: Easy

Distance: 4 miles

Lacamas Heritage Trail

Located near Camas, this trail runs along Lacamas Lake and Lacamas Creek. This mostly flat, gravel path offers stunning views of the water, interesting rock formations, and wildlife in the area. The trail is shared-use, but its width makes it comfortable for cyclists of all experience levels.

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Distance: 7 miles

Salmon Creek Greenway Trail

The Salmon Creek Greenway Trail is a paved greenway perfect for a relaxing bike ride. Travel alongside Salmon Creek, through wetlands, ponds, and restored natural habitats. This easily accessible trail offers a quick escape from the city into a peaceful, natural environment.

Difficulty Level: Easy

Distance: 3.1 miles (one way)

Safety Tips for Cyclists

Cycling in Clark County can be a rewarding experience, but safety should always be a top priority. Here are some essential tips to ensure your rides are both enjoyable and safe:

Wear Proper Gear

Always wear a helmet to protect your head in case of an accident. Opt for reflective clothing and accessories to increase visibility, especially during early morning or evening rides. Don’t forget gloves, eye protection, and suitable footwear to enhance your comfort and safety.

Stay Visible

Ensure your bike is equipped with front and rear lights, particularly if you plan to ride at dawn, dusk, or at night. Reflective tape and brightly colored clothing can make you more visible to motorists and other cyclists.

Follow Traffic Rules

Obey all traffic signals, signs, and lane markings. Ride in the direction of traffic and use hand signals to indicate your intentions to turn or stop. Being predictable helps motorists anticipate your actions and reduces the risk of accidents.

Stay Alert

Keep an eye out for potential hazards such as potholes, gravel, and wet leaves. Be aware of your surroundings and watch for cars, pedestrians, and other cyclists. Avoid using headphones, which can distract you from your environment.

Plan Your Route

Familiarize yourself with the route before you head out, especially if it’s your first time on a particular trail. Share your plans with someone else, including your expected return time in case of an emergency.

Hydration and Nutrition

Carry enough water to stay hydrated throughout your ride, particularly on longer routes. Pack light snacks and energy bars to maintain your energy levels, especially if you’re planning an extended ride.

Bike Maintenance

Regularly check your bike to ensure it’s in good working condition. Inspect the brakes, tires, and gears before each ride, or take it to top-notch bike shops in Clark County like Rolling Right Bike Repair and Service and Vancouver Cyclery. Regular maintenance can prevent mechanical failure and reduce the risk of accidents.

Final Thoughts

From scenic riverside paths to challenging climbs, Clark County caters to cyclists of all levels. With a supportive community and plenty of routes to explore, you’re sure to find your perfect ride.

Remember, safety is paramount, so always gear up, stay visible, and follow the rules of the road. Let’s keep the conversation going – share your favorite routes and tips in the comments, and happy cycling!

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