I haven’t had a new hike to report in a while, but this last week we decided to hike the Columbia River Dike Trail, part of which we were on last fall at the end of our Gibbons Creek Wildlife Art Trail at Steigerwald Lake Wildlife Refuge. This is an easy but beautiful hike, although part of it runs along an industrial area on the north side of the Columbia River. Mt. Hood shines over us on the entire hike.
Columbia River Dike Trail
Steamboat Landing, Washougal, Washington
Distance: Sources vary on this. I’ve seen everything from 6.2 to 7 miles, in and out. We went about 5.5 miles.
Difficulty: Easy peasy
Panting stops: 0
Elevation change: 30 feet
We parked our car at Steamboat Landing, but there is also parking at Captain William Clark Park and at other places along the trail, plus there are several accesses for walkers and bikers from downtown Washougal. At Steamboat Landing, you can take a detour to a floating dock and observation point. The path is paved, running alongside the Columbia River, and it has several access points to docks and beaches. At Captain William Clark Park there are some exhibits and a side trail to Cottonwood Beach, which was a camping spot for the Lewis and Clark expedition.
Although there are a few industrial sites at the beginning and middle of the path, eventually you leave that all behind. Further along the path is access to Steigerwald Lake Wildlife Refuge. All along the way, we saw lots of water birds. The hike ends at a gate where the path becomes private property.
This is a really nice easy hike, a pleasant place to be on a sunny day.
How to get there
Take Washington Highway 14 east toward Camas and Washougal. In Washougal, you will see a roundabout with a sign pointing to Steamboat Landing. Take that exit off the roundabout, and follow the road down to the parking area.
Parking and Facilities
The Steamboat Landing parking area has room for about 10 cars and a couple of restrooms. It also has a floating dock for fishing and an observation point.
Less than a mile down the path at Captain William Clark Park, there is a larger parking lot and multi-user bathrooms with showers. There are also some other areas along the trail where you can park.
Dogs and horses, bikes and jogging are allowed on the trail. However, there is no trash collection, so please pack out all your trash. Be aware, too, that if you take your dog, you cannot take the dog down into the Wildlife Refuge. The dog can go down onto the beaches, though, and anywhere along the dike trail.