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Dougan Falls day trip

Dougan Falls day trip

With the heat we’ve been experiencing in the northwest the last couple of weeks, people are going to great lengths to keep cool. We’re one of the many northwesterners without air conditioning, so off we go to find some relief.

A friend of mine suggested the Washougal River up in Washington has some great roadside turnouts where you can enjoy your own semi-private riverfront site. 

So I pull up maps on my phone and follow the riverside road all the way up the Washougal river to Dougan Falls ....... our cooling station destination. It says it’s about an hour from our NE Portland home. Perfect! Should be less crowded, right?! Notice the 96 degrees in the corner. 96 ☀️ 

Follow the route that says “55 minutes”, this one follows the river, where you can browse turnouts on the way up to the Falls.  Unfortunately, we took the “53 minute” route, and while we had a nice view of the Columbia for part of the way, that way missed almost all of the Washougal river. Shortly after passing a quite impressively sized park across from the Washougal River Road Hatchery facility where we could see people playing in the river, we arrived at the Falls.

It was a surprise to find so many cars and people in this area.  It's a local hangout for sure. And when the heat is on, Northwesterners' hit the water! So we weren't alone at all, and because Siri took us over the Rockies to get there, we were almost out of gas.  We noticed everyone had their Washington Discover Pass on their windshields which we also had not planned for.  So, in order to alleviate the anxiety of running out of gas on a back country road and an expensive $100 fine for parking without a Discover Pass, we headed back down to Washougal to grab a pass at a Chevron and returned back up the river route to explore the many quieter roadside turnouts.  We decided to leave the Falls for another less crowded day.

A great day, after all. We did find our semi-private property in a turnout around milepost 5. Our four footed friend, Rogen swam with us, and there were few people around. I'm pretty sure, with a little bit of planning, even on a hot day like today, you can still find a bit of shade, a cool place to dip your toes and peaceful solace if your willing to explore or trust Siri.