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Battle Ground Lake

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Looking at the park from the west side of the lake (Steve Hart)
There are many fallen trees lining the shore (Steve Hart)
A fallen cedar and reeds on the shore of Battle Ground Lake (Steve Hart)



Battle Ground Lake is the centerpiece of Battle Ground Lake State Park. The roughly circular lake is fed by springs and has no inlet or outlet streams. The water level remains nearly the same year round.

The lake was created as a "Maar" volcano. Magma rising to the surface came in contact with a large amount of underground water. The water was turned to steam and the resulting steam explosion blasted a hole in the ground. After the system became inactive and cooled, water from rain and underground springs filled the lake. The explosive nature of the original eruption left scattered boulders of lava in the area, rather than solid masses of basalt. Centuries of erosion and plant growth have covered most of the lava with soil, but there are still large boulders visible on the west shore of the lake. Battle Ground Lake is over 300,000 years old.

The lake was originally known as Crater Lake, but was renamed Battle Ground Lake to avoid confusion with Oregon's Crater Lake. The current name stems from a battle that ironically never happened. In 1855, there were several Indian uprisings in the area and a group of local Indians had been held at nearby Fort Vancouver. When the Indians escaped, a Captain Strong was sent out with troops with the full expectation that there would be a battle. Strong's group caught up with the Indians near Battle Ground Lake. Strong convinced the Indians to return the fort, but they would only return after they buried their chief, who had just died. Strong and his men returned to the fort without the Indians and the area became known as Strong's Battle Ground as a jab to his perceived weakness. The Indians did return to the fort as they had promised, but the name stuck.

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Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

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