Yacolt Burn State Forest
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Yacolt Burn State Forest 
Horses and mountain bikes cross a creek in the Yacolt Burn State Forest. Photo: DNR 

Western Yacolt Burn Forest Recreation Plan

Updated September 8, 2010

DNR adopts Western Yacolt Burn Forest Recreation Plan
On August 16, 2010, DNR approved the Western Yacolt Burn Forest Recreation Plan. For the past three years, DNR staff worked with recreation user groups, neighboring private land owners, and others to create a long-term recreation plan for the western portion of the Yacolt Burn State Forest. The plan will guide how DNR manages safe and sustainable recreation in this area for the next 10 years, while protecting the land and its resources.

>> Download the Western Yacolt Burn Forest Recreation Plan (4.3 MB PDF)
>> 8/18/10 News release: State DNR adopts recreation plan for Western Yacolt Burn Forest

Links to maps from the plan

The maps inserted within the downloadable plan are low resolution and may not be easy to read. The following links open higher resolution versions of many of the maps in the plan.

  • Figure 1. DNR regions and project location.
  • Figure 4. Concept map of existing and proposed recreation opportunities in Western Yacolt Burn Forest
  • Figure 5. Motorized and non-motorized recreation planning areas.
  • Figure 6. Motorized trails priority areas.
  • Figure 7. Priority Area 1—Motorized trails.
  • Figure 8. Priority Area 2-Motorized trails.
  • Figure 9. Priority Area 3-Motorized trails.
  • Figure 10. Non-motorized trails.
  • Figure 13. Rock Creek staging and campground expansion.
  • Figure 14. Cold Creek campground expansion.
  • Figure 15. Four Corners Trailhead and Campground (new facility).
  • Figure E-1. Landscape features of the Western Yacolt Burn Forest.
  • Figure F-1. Existing recreation in Western Yacolt Burn Forest.
  • Figure H-1. Recreation land suitability—Facilities.
  • Figure H-2. Recreation land suitability—Hiking trails.
  • Figure H-3. Recreation land suitability—Motorized trails.
  • Figure H-4. Recreation land suitability—Non-motorized trails.

With input from the public, the plan calls for diverse recreational opportunities and will address the following:

  • Expanding trail systems in the area.
  • Separate areas for motorized and non-motorized recreation.
  • Expanding existing and adding new recreation facilities, picnic areas, and ADA-accessible facilities.
  • Reducing harm to the environment.

Why Did DNR develop a recreation plan for Yacolt Burn State Forest?
Located in southwest Washington, the Yacolt Burn State Forest draws recreational users from Vancouver and greater southwest Washington, as well as the Portland metropolitan area and northwest Oregon. As a working forest, Yacolt Burn State Forest provides multiple benefits to the citizens of Washington—and to the many out-of-state visitors who recreate in the area.

The western half of the Yacolt Burn State Forest is the closest public forest to Vancouver, WA. An estimated 30,000 visitors annually use the trails and facilities in the forest to enjoy ORV riding, horse riding, hiking, and mountain biking.

Because of Yacolt’s popularity, DNR recognized a pressing need for safe, sustainable, and well-managed recreation facilities.

The Western Yacolt Burn Forest currently includes:

  • The 14- mile Jones Creek ORV trail system and trailhead, which is used primarily by all-terrain vehicles (ATV). 
  • The 35-mile Tarbell Trail system, including Bells Mountain and the Rock Creek – Larch Mountain trails. This trail system is an important part of larger, nationally recognized Chinook trail system.
  • Rock Creek and Cold Creek campground and day use areas.

Some specific, key elements of the recreation plan include:

  • 80 more miles of authorized trails: (20 additional miles for motorized and 58 additional miles for non-motorized.)
  • Additional camping at Cold Creek Campground.
  • New campground at Four Corners.
  • Increased parking capacity at Rock Creek Campground, new a mountain bike staging area, and new trailhead at Four Corners.

About Yacolt Burn State Forest
The Yacolt Burn State Forest, located north of Washougal, WA, comprises 90,000 acres of forestland just south of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. The planning area in the western portion of the forest covers approximately 40,000 acres. Major creeks in the area include Cold, Jones, Hagen, Grouse, and Coyote creeks. The tallest peak in the area is Larch Mountain at 3,496 feet. Other peaks include Bells, Elk Horn, and Spotted Deer mountains.

Why is it called Yacolt Burn?
In September 1902, dry winds from the east fanned the flames of what became Washington’s largest wildfire, which destroyed more than 370,000 acres. The fire nearly destroyed the small town of Yacolt, but the wind’s direction changed, heading north until it ran out of steam at the Lewis River. Since then, numerous fires—some quite large—repeatedly burned the area until the mid 1950s, hence the name.
Sources: HistoryLink.org and Wikipedia

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 Contacts

Jessica Kimmick
360-577-2025
jessica.kimmick@dnr.wa.gov

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