Frenchman's Bar Trail


7 Reviews

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Frenchman's Bar Trail Facts

States: Washington
Counties: Clark
Length: 3.9 miles
Trail end points: Columbia River at NW Old Lower River Rd. and NW Erwin O. Reiger Memorial Highway near Vancouver Lake
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 7336446

Frenchman's Bar Trail Description

Frenchman's Bar Trail could not be in a prettier place nestled between the Columbia River and Vancouver Lake on the northwestern outskirts of Vancouver. The paved trail of nearly 4 miles loops around the southern half of Shillapoo Wildlife Recreation Area and offers views of Mount St. Helens, Mount Hood, Mount Adams, and Mount Rainer. Stop and enjoy the scenery at the picnic areas in Frenchman's Bar Regional Park on the trail's west end or Vancouver Lake Regional Park on its eastern side.

Parking and Trail Access

Plentiful parking is available in Frenchman's Bar Park (9612 NW Lower River Road) and Vancouver Lake Park (6801 NW Lower River Road).

Frenchman's Bar Trail Reviews

great biking trail, especially if….

You take the trail all the way into the forest by the lake. Then take asphalt for 1/2 mile and back into the woods. The view changes into open air and fields on the way to Frenchmen’s Bar. This trail has it all with asphalt, gravel and in-between. Liked it so much, I did it twice. On my e-bike, it was a blast. I will be back often.

Good for a short 8 mile skate

The parks each have the smoothest asphalt I’ve experienced so far. Vancouver lake has some roots pushing the asphalt up, but it’s fun as an irregular pump track. The trail connecting is less smooth and without shade. The whole thing is pretty flat, with the best hills dead ending at the beaches.

NOT a great walking trail

The first portion of it, starting near Vancouver Lake, is pretty, although there is very little shade. However, once it gets to the end of the Isthmus, at Blurock Landing, it parallels the road. It's really no more than a more protected bike lane that is right beside 501. I walked for a while and then turned around, very disappointed. I'm surprised at the high ratings folks gave it. 5 stars, really? Also cell phone coverage is spotty (at least for my phone) so be aware. For bikers or skaters it may be fine, but NOT recommended for walkers unless you find walking beside a sometimes busy two lane road as your idea of being out in nature.

among my favorites

I love being able to start at one body of water and move to another. The asphalt is flat, smooth, and ideal for skateboarding or inline skating. I’ll be back over and over again. Not too many people on the gorgeous day that I was out here.


Popular Place

I rode this trail for the first time last evening. I was surprised by the popularity of Frenchman's Bar Trail - not for the trail but the beaches, which makes parking crowded. There were just a few riders on the trail. There is parking at Vancouver Lake Park, near the middle of the trail, which appears to used manly for the beach, and at the northern termination again used for the beach. I found one small parking spot just before entering the park that had only one car. The trail is completely flat which makes it great for hiking and biking. The middle section goes along a slough and the rest through fields.

Inline Skater Review

The best place to park is Vancouver Lake Park; it's free and situated at one end of the skatable portion of the trail. Don't bother with the trail north of Vancouver Lake Park, it's rough asphalt for a short stretch and then turns into gravel.

The trail to Frenchman's Bar Park is wide and smooth, great for skating. It gets rough on the segment along Frenchman's Bar, but the scenery makes it worth it. There are water fountains at Frenchman's Bar Park.

Frenchmans Bar

I jog this asphalt trail three times a week. The level terrain is easier on my 64-year-old knees. If needed, there are restrooms at each end of the trail as marked on the map. With some creativity and including a bit of road (with wide and well-marked shoulders) jogging you can do your half-marathons. During your time on the trail you will see Vancouver Lake, Columbia River, Mount St Helens, Mount Hood, Mount Adams, Mount Rainer (weather permitting)along with birds of prey and waterfowl.

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