Columbia River: Bonneville to Washougal

This is a very scenic 20 nm sea kayak downriver in mild conditions or an exciting ride in strong easterly winds. Launch near the base of Bonneville Dam, and paddle past Beacon Rock, Franz Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Multnomah Falls, Cape Horn, Rooster Rock State Park and Reed Island State Park. A car shuttle is required for this one-way trip.

Launch Points

  • The put-in is at the Hamilton Island Boat Ramp within site of the Bonneville Dam. Turn off US-14 (Evergreen Hwy) onto Dam Access Road, then right onto Fort Cascades Drive, left onto Boat Ramp Road, and continue to the ramp.

  • The take-out is at Washougal Waterfront Park. Exit from US-14 onto Frontage Road in Washougal. Continue to the second roundabout, turn right onto 2nd Street, and follow 2nd St to the park.

The car shuttle is 32 miles long. A good strategy is to meet at Washougal, consolidate boats and gear to travel to Bonneville for the launch. Then use cars left at Washougal to get boats and gear back to Bonneville at the end of the trip.

Alternate water accesses on the Washington side between the put-in and take-out are Cottonwood Beach in Captain William Clark Park (a long carry to the beach) and Beacon Rock boat ramp (Discover Pass required). On the Oregon side are Fishery RV Park/Boast Ramp at river mile 141 (parking fee), Dalton Point Recreation Site and Rooster Rock State Park (day use fee). All accesses on the Oregon side require a Waterway Access Permit.

On the Water

This downriver trip goes by a large number of scenic areas, wildlife refuges and park along boat sides of the river. There is current assist throughout the trip helping with the 20 nm distance. It is a great option for a downwind trip with a strong easterly wind that occasionally set up with hot weather on the west side of the mountains. In mild conditions there is lots to explore along the way. There are many beaches to stop for lunch or a break throughout the trip.


  • On a strong east wind day, a large number of kite boarders are concentrated at Rooster Rock State Park. It may be good to consider requiring helmets for this section due to the possibility of collisions.

  • Difficulty: Sea Kayak III/IV
  • Length: 20.0 nm
  • Land Manager: Land Manager Varies
  • Parking Permit Required: see Land Manager
  • Recommended Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12
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