There’s plenty happening on the Washougal waterfront. I spent the morning walking along the Columbia River recently and was surprised to find new walkways, a glorious view of Mt. Hood, people practicing Tai Chi, a walk event starting point and plans for even more.

Washougal Waterfront Park and Trail

Washougal Waterfront Park
A morning Tai Chi class with a river view. Photo credit: Elizabeth R. Rose

Just several miles east of Vancouver, you’ll find the Port of Camas-Washougal facilities. Take Exit 14, off SR 14 to get there. I parked at the new Washougal Waterfront Park and looked toward the east at Mt. Hood – a stunning view.

As I walked along the mile-long, wide, paved path, I noticed many new additions. There are picnic tables, shade trees, an open lawn for entertainment and a deck overlooking the Columbia River. It was morning, and the park was well-utilized.

On the grass, Washougal Acupuncture and Massage was hosting a Tai Chi class. On the nearby picnic table were tea, granola and grapes for refreshments.

Washougal Waterfront Park
Janet Traweek and her daughter, Julia, of Camas volunteer at the finish table for a walk event held at Washougal Waterfront Park. Photo credit: Elizabeth R. Rose

At the picnic shelter All Weather Walkers was hosting a public 5K/10K walking event along the river and through town. Volunteers were busy registering walkers and sending them out on a marked trail to discover waterfront history, natural beauty and the town of Washougal.

There was a display and explanation of the use of solar energy at the park’s solar powered restrooms. The trail then headed east to an area where you can access the river, a great rocky beach for playing with your dog or launching your kayak.

Port of Camas-Washougal Boat Launch and Visitor Center

You can walk to the west through parking lots or drive over and park at the Port offices or Parkersville Landing.

Washougal Waterfront Park
The small rocky beach at Washougal Waterfront Park is a great place to get in touch with the river, launch a kayak or get a great view of Mt. Hood in the distance. Photo credit: Elizabeth R. Rose

The boat launch provides a place for pleasure boats and kayaks to be launched. There is also a marina accommodating 20 to 40 foot vessels and a fuel dock. There is guest mooring available.

Visitors can use the facilities at the Port offices and Visitors Center Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Parkersville Landing – Area History

Located adjacent to Marina Park and the Port offices, you’ll find Parker’s Landing Historical Park. You can walk there from Washougal Waterfront Park or drive and park there.

The park, located on the historic Parker land claim, was established to commemorate David C. Parker, an area founder. Parker settled there in 1845 and obtained a land claim. He subsequently platted the town of Parkersville in 1854.

Washougal Waterfront Park
Boaters line up to launch into the Columbia River. Photo credit: Elizabeth R. Rose

Parker built a small dock for boats to bring in supplies and to accommodate riverboats on the Columbia River. When he died in 1858, Lewis Van Vleet (Clark County’s first physician and father of Dr. Louisa Wright, the county’s first female doctor) became part owner of the estate and landing and re-platted Parkersville.

The park includes a short walking path that will take you by features such as the Van Vleet Historical Plaza and Chinook Plaza. The area at the confluence of the Washougal and Columbia Rivers was inhabited by Cascade Chinook people long before European settlers arrived. It was rich with salmon and could sustain families who lived by fishing, hunting and plant gathering.

At Chinook Plaza you’ll find interpretive signs and a “Welcoming Figure,” a basalt column carved by Greg Robinson, artist and tribal council member of the Chinook Indian Nation. My dog did a double-take when she noticed the canine-like figure at the top of the column.

Washougal Waterfront Park
Francesca the Coonhound checks out the figure on the Chinook Welcoming Post during her walk at Parker’s Landing. Photo credit: Elizabeth R. Rose

The park has shaded lawns and a rose arbor where weddings and special events can be held.

I continued walking toward the river and followed the short walkway at Marina Park. I enjoyed watching people at the boat launch heading out for a day on the river before walking back to my car at the Washougal Waterfront Park.

Future Plans for the Washougal Waterfront

?The Port of Camas-Washougal has developed a plan for a natural play area at the Washougal Waterfront Park and Trail next year. Sasquatch will be debuting in the play area as a large sculpture that children can play on and interact with.

When You Visit the Washougal Waterfront

If you are a photographer, time your visit at early morning or at sunset. The skies can be colorful, and the views of the river and mountain awe-inspiring. The trails are short, but you can get in a nice mile and a half walk by exploring the three areas of Washougal Waterfront Park, Marina Park and Parkersville Landing.

For more information see the Washougal Waterfront Park website and watch for project updates on their Facebook page.

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