Weave through Columbia River waters and hike basalt columns when camping near Washougal.
Set on the Columbia River, Washougal blends Pacific Northwest beauty with small-city comfort. Known as the “crossroads to discovery,” the city offers easy access to notable parks and forests for unique nature escapes. An eastbound scenic drive along the river brings campers to Beacon Rock and Columbia Hills Historical State Park, packed with historic hiking trails, fishing opportunities, and picnic areas. Further inland, Gifford Pinchot National Forest encompasses over 1.3 million acres of land, iconic trails, and volcanic mountains. Pitch a tent, pull up the RV, or rent a cabin in Washougal’s nature-diverse lands. Campers will find well-outfitted campsites with full hookups and fire pits, or primitive sites offering plenty of solitude.
Travel to Beacon Rock State Park to hike Beacon Rock Trail—a 1.8-mile loop up Beacon Rock. The rock is an 848-foot basalt column featuring switchbacks and views of the Columbia River Gorge. Then, set up shop along the Columbia River shoreline, where campers can find standard campsites, full hookups, and horse camping available. Enjoy fishing, paddling, or swimming steps away from camp. Despite seasonal closures at the main campground, primitive and equestrian sites are open year-round. A Discover Pass is required to enter the park, or a day-use fee can be paid at one of the park’s automated machines.
Dramatic cliffs and petroglyphs pave the way for an epic stay at Columbia Hills Historical State Park. Featuring four unique areas, Columbia Hills blends desert-like terrain with lush vegetation. Campers can explore Native American pictographs and petroglyphs at Horsethief Lake—one of the largest concentrations in the Pacific Northwest. Then, find standard campsites, partial hookups, hiker/biker campsites, and rustic cabins on the grounds, along with one restroom and a dumping station. Note that the campground runs on a first-come, first-served basis and fills up quickly in spring.
The Pacific Crest Trail, Ape Cave lava tube, and Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument are just some of the natural attractions at Gifford Pinchot National Forest. It hosts over 1.3 million acres of dense forests, deep valleys, mountain peaks, and waterfalls. Cabin rentals, dispersed camping, and RV campsites with a range of hookup options, firepits, and picnic tables offer a chance for campers to stay and play. Seasonal activities like summertime swimming and winter snowmobiling draw campers in year-round.
Summers are short and warm, reaching average highs around 80°F. Temperatures begin to cool in late September. Winters in Washougal are wet and cold, with temperatures dropping below freezing and high chances of snowfall from December to February. Those camping in winter should come with an understanding of cold-weather camping and preparations.