Sandy beach
Cliff jumping
Hike-in Required
Sensitive Habitat
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

When the late summer arrives and temperatures rise, it helps to have a favorite refuge from the heat. Portland area residents flock to the beaches of Sauvie Island, the Sandy River, the Clackamas River, or perhaps even the Wilson River. For those on the Washington side the Columbia River, the Washougal River is a close resource and one of the best swimming hole rivers in the Pacific Northwest. Often overlooked by Oregonians, the entire length of the Washougal River is sprinkled with deep pools, and sun-kissed rocky outcroppings.

For those willing to drive the full length of Washougal River Road, the reward is huge. Nestled at the end of this winding, paved river road is Dougan Falls, arguably one of the premiere swimming holes in the state. Whether wading in the giant pool at the bottom of this 19 foot cascade, setting up a lawn chair in the shallow waters above the falls, or laying out a beach towel on the sandy beach below the bridge, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better mid-summer day retreat. And, with Dougan Creek Campground just 100 yards away from the falls,  visitors can lounge along the banks of the river for more than just a day.

The area is quite well known, so be prepared to encounter other locals. Come mid-week to avoid peak crowds.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)


Parking Pass

Washington Discovery Pass


Deep pool. Gets lots of sun. Nearby camping.


Very crowded in the peak of summer.


Sensitive Habitat


Nearby Adventures

Southwest Washington/Mount St. Helens, Washington
Southwest Washington/Mount St. Helens, Washington
Washington, Southwest Washington/Mount St. Helens

Nearby Lodging + Camping


While Naked Falls is permanently closed, Dougal Falls was open to the public on 6/4. The falls are beautiful!

The closest place to buy a Discover Pass is nine miles back along the road, so make sure to get one ahead of time. The police were handing out tickets while we were there.

Alcohol possession isn't allowed at the falls, and there were police walking around in the late morning ticketing people who had open containers. They told us the fine was $1,000 per person.

If you have kids, pets or lots of things to carry to wherever you want to sit, take the path down to the area below the bridge. The walk down is a bit easier than finding a spot above the falls.
Unfortunately both Dougan Falls and Naked falls are now private property, bought by a logging company. Theres now private property/no trespassing signs posted along the Washougal River
Word of warning: A Washington Discover Pass ($10 daily, $30 annual) is required to park at the Falls, and there is no place to purchase onsite. The closest place to buy a Discover Pass is nine miles back at a grocery store. Be sure to buy online or before you go, because you will be ticketed without a pass. I received a $99 citation I am currently appealing. Other than that though the Falls are amazing!
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