Washougal River MP 4.5 to Hathaway Park

Washougal River MP 4.5 to Hathaway Park 2/2/13 ~1,500 cfs:

The Washougal River has always been one of my favorite rainy season runs in the Portland area, thanks to its proximity to the city, roadside access, beautiful scenery and abundant rapids with great character.  This last trip was my first run down the lower section, and as with most sections of river, at the end I was left wondering what took me so long to discover this gem of a run.  After setting our shuttle at Hathaway Park (located very close to the heart of Washougal), we ventured 4.5ish miles up Washougal River Rd to a pull off and unload our boats.

This section of river begins with a nice, easy class II warm up, where boaters can practice peel outs, ferrying, and get loose for the fun that lies downstream.  The first mile or so of this run is dotted with plenty of short, fun class II rapids that provide an ideal training ground for eddy hopping exercises, and everything is separated by ample stretches of relatively flat water so boaters have time to collect themselves in between rapids.  The biggest rapid on this particular run is a fun class II+/III (depending on the water level, for us I’d say it was II+) and comes about a mile or so into the trip.  You can easily scout this rapid from either bank, or from a large eddy on river right at the top of the rapid.  This drop is a splashy, fun S-turn that we powered through with a healthy amount of downstream momentum, going with the flow of the river.  Below this rapid are numerous class II+ ledge drops and boulder gardens, dotted with some fun play spots that are great for more skill development and refinement.

Every rapid on this run has numerous lines and can be boat scouted.  The take out at Hathaway Park is on river left.  Enjoy this rainy season run while you still can!

-Dave Trageser