“Timing is everything” is an expression that certainly applies to viewing the blossoming Camas lily field in Lacamas Lake Regional Park. They are in their prime late April through May, when they explode into hues from pale lilac to deep purple. If you hike along the Round Lake Trail, you will note a sign steering you off the path to a field carpeted with lilies. It is a spectacular sight, worth visiting during the height of its blooms.
Surprisingly, this beautiful plant was also a major source of food for Native Americans who lived in the area, and also helped the Lewis and Clark Expedition survive their winter here. The flower is edible, as well as the bulb – boiled like a potato, or dried and pounded into flour. The once flourishing fields and meadows of lilies have been greatly diminished by developments and modern agriculture. This particular field is protected and will continue its annual display – hopefully for generations to come.
You can reach the field by hiking the Round Lake Trail loop – a relatively moderate stretch of 1.5 miles starting in the parking lot off NE Everett. There are some steep hills, but they level out eventually. The other option is to hike in from 3rd Avenue in Camas along the Lacamas Creek Trail past Lower Falls and Potholes Falls. That also presents a few uphill segments, but is worth the trek for the views of the creek along the way.
Your outdoor kids will love this hike because it meanders through towering firs and thick brush, immersing you in nature. A footbridge crosses over loud, swirling rapids that pour over boulders into a churning hydraulic. The sights and sounds of so much powerful rushing water is impressive. This contrasts nicely to the quiet serenity of the lily fields, where you can sit and meditate on its stunning beauty.
The creek trail ties into the Round Lake loop just South of the lily fields. Look for a sign directing you to the meadow.