Kayak before the face of Washington's infamous Mount St. Helens in one of three crystal clear lakes. These calm waters offer kayakers, stand-up-paddle boarders, even swimmers the perfect trip to just get away and enjoy the day!

Just 55 miles northeast of Portland lies a body of water so pure you have to see it to believe it...that's right, we're talking about Yale Lake. One of three lakes beneath Washington's ever rumbling Mount St Helens, Yale offers the outdoor lover just about everything they could ask for: calm waters, forested banks, views of world famous volcanoes...the list goes on and on and on.

Now to begin the journey you obviously need to get there first, and if you're not great with directions you're in luck! After taking exit 22 (Woodland) off I-5 all you have to do is drive 27 miles east on Lewis River Road. The drive is nothing short of picturesque with each twist and turn of the road revealing movie quality views of mountains towering over the lakes.

After those 27 miles you'll find Yale Park to your right, resting midway along the banks of Yale Lake. Open year-round, this park makes for the perfect launch point for a day on the water with a fully functional dual boat launch as well as sand and rocky banks (a much more preferred method when it comes to casting off your kayak).

As soon as you hit the water the entire world is yours, and with 7.5 miles of water to explore there's truly no other place like it. You can paddle for as short or as long as you wish. If you're feeling extra adventurous, bring a fishing pole and see if you can sink a line or two! And hey... take a glance over your shoulder occasionally and you may just see that infamous peak looming over head.

What are you waiting for?! Grab the GoPro, life jackets, kayaks and snacks and head on out there!!

Pack List

  • Sandals or Chaco's
  • Life jacket
  • Whistle
  • Kayak
  • Food/water
  • 10 essentials
  • Dry clothing (for after)
  • Camera
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Activities Stand Up Paddle, Fishing, Photography, Kayaking, Swimming
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Features
Bathrooms
Beach
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Groups
Lake
Picnic Area

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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