Formerly home to a lumber mill, the Washougal Waterfront Park opened up a stretch of Columbia River shoreline formerly inaccessible to hikers. The park is a key link in the vision to build a long-distance trail system connecting Vancouver to the Columbia River Gorge. “Towns to Trails” aims to connect Columbia River Gorge communities to rural areas and wilderness areas through an extensive network of trails.
Start your hike by taking the 0.3-mile loop to the compass viewpoint, enjoying interpretive panels, a sweeping view of the Columbia River backed by Oregon’s Larch Mountain and Mount Hood, and art installations, such as the stainless steel migrating salmon embedded in the trail.
The 0.6 Waterfront Park Trail starts just east of the solar-powered restrooms, passing interpretive signs and a spur to a kayak and canoe boat launch at the river. The paved trail meanders through cottonwood riverside forest. Follow the sasquatch markers in the trail to the Nature Play Area which features a 9-foot-tall sasquatch named Eegah. He is trying to move a boulder named Erric the Erratic who was delivered to this location by the Ice Age Floods. The play area provides experiences that mimic play in nature and responds to the basic need of children to connect to their natural surroundings.
Continue walking through woodlands. The trail eventually bends north to its eastern terminus at 0.6 mile at a small parking area on South A St. Cross the street and continue east on the Columbia River Connector Trail for 0.7 mile. This paved trail is sandwiched between SR 14 and South A St. for about 0.5 mile before entering more cottonwood forest and climbing to its terminus at Steamboat Landing Park.
Flush restrooms and a bench are located here. You can continue walking east 0.1 mile to take a tunnel under SR 14 to walk into downtown Washougal, stroll a floating boardwalk on the river that serves as a fishing dock and canoe/kayak launch, continue walking east on the Dike Trail to Captain William Clark Park or beyond to Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge, or return the way you came.