Washingtonians Swear by These 6 Washougal River Swimming Holes

Washougal river
© Vincent Louis/Shutterstock.com

Written by Jennifer Gaeng

Updated: July 25, 2023

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Fellow adventurers, are you in the mood for some splashing and fun? Then you’re going to want to hear about the Washougal River. Tucked away amidst the stately Cascade Mountains in the glorious state of Washington, this freshwater paradise has been attracting visitors for centuries. The Washougal River is home to some of the most popular swimming holes in the region, and we’re about to explore six of the best ones!

Get ready to lose yourself in the serenity of Dougan Falls or find your inner daredevil at the Rocky Bottom. Check out the gorgeous scenery and take in all the natural beauty that surrounds you. Whether you’re in the mood to soak up some rays or just want to chill in the water, you’ll find everything you need on the Washougal River at these six swimming holes.

1. Dougan Falls

Dougan Falls Washington

Whether you’re in the mood to relax by the water or splash around, Dougan Falls has it all.

©Gary Gilardi/Shutterstock.com

First up on the list is Dougan Falls! It’s one of the most popular swimming holes on the Washougal River and for good reason! The mighty Dougan Falls plunges into a deep pool of crystal-clear water, making it an irresistible attraction for swimmers and sightseers alike.

As you make your way to the falls, prepare for a bit of a hike. You’ll have to navigate a trail that winds through the surrounding forest and crosses a scenic suspension bridge. But don’t worry, the journey is worth it. Once you arrive at Dougan Falls, you’ll be greeted by the breathtaking sight of the rushing water cascading over the rocks.

Dougan Falls on the Washougal River

The mighty Dougan Falls plunges into a deep pool of crystal-clear water.


Whether you’re in the mood to relax by the water, splash around with your friends, or try your hand at some cliff jumping, Dougan Falls has it all. With plenty of submerged rocks and ledges to jump from, it’s the perfect spot for adventure-seekers. And if you’re just looking to unwind, there are plenty of serene spots to sit back and enjoy the peaceful sound of the falls.

2. Sandy Swimming Hole

The Sandy Swimming Hole is a hidden gem on the Washougal River that’s sure to take your breath away. This picturesque spot is a popular destination for both locals and tourists, and it’s not hard to see why.

As you make your way to the Sandy Swimming Hole, you’ll be surrounded by dense forest and the sounds of nature. Once you arrive, you’ll be greeted by the sight of crystal-clear water as it flows gently over the rocks and into the swimming hole. It’s truly a sight to behold!

But the Sandy Swimming Hole isn’t just pretty to look at, it’s also the perfect spot to cool off on a hot summer day. The water is calm and inviting, making it easy to jump right in and start swimming. And if you’re feeling adventurous, there’s even a natural rockslide that’ll take you straight into the water!

But that’s not all, the Sandy Swimming Hole is also a great spot for a riverside picnic with friends and family. Spread out your favorite blankets, enjoy a tasty snack, and soak up the beauty of the Washougal River.

3. Naked Falls

Forest river landscape in Washougal, Washington, USA.

There are many swimming spots on the Washougal River.

©Shane N. Cotee/Shutterstock.com

Let’s talk about Naked Falls Swimming Hole on Washougal River. Now, despite the name, you can’t actually get “naked” there, so don’t let the name fool you! But that hasn’t stopped people from enjoying this beautiful spot.

Naked Falls is tucked away in a quiet, secluded area of the Washougal River, making it a popular destination for those looking to escape the crowds. As you make your way to the falls, you’ll be surrounded by nature at its finest such as towering trees, babbling brooks, and plenty of wildlife.

Once you arrive at the swimming hole, you’ll be struck by the stunning beauty of the falls. The water cascades down the rocks and into a refreshing pool, providing the perfect spot to cool off and relax. And even though you can’t get “naked” here, you’ll still feel free and unrestricted as you let the water wash away your worries.

With its natural beauty and tranquil surroundings, Naked Falls Swimming Hole is the perfect spot for a peaceful day in the great outdoors.

4. Hathaway Park

Hathaway Park Swimming Hole on Washougal River is a spot that never fails to impress! As you make your way to this swimming hole, you’ll pass by the beautiful Hathaway Park. With plenty of shade trees and picnic areas, it’s the perfect spot for a pre-swim snack or a lazy afternoon nap. And once you’re ready to take the plunge, you’ll find yourself greeted by crystal-clear water that’s sure to refresh your soul.

But what really sets Hathaway Park Swimming Hole apart is the natural rock formations that form the water slide. It’s a thrill-seeker’s dream – just climb up to the top of the rock and slide all the way down into the swimming hole below! And for those who prefer a more relaxed pace, there are plenty of places to sink into the shallow water and let the worries of the day melt away.

5. Rocky Bottom

If you are looking for an adventure, then check out Rocky Bottom Swimming Hole on Washougal River. This hidden gem is tucked away in a remote area of the river, surrounded by towering trees and natural beauty. It’s not the easiest spot to find, but the journey is worth it! As you make your way down to the swimming hole, you’ll feel like you’re stepping back in time to a simpler, more peaceful era.

But don’t let the serene surroundings fool you, Rocky Bottom Swimming Hole is a spot for thrill-seekers. With a rope swing hanging from a tree and plenty of rocks to jump off of, it’s the perfect destination for those looking to add a little adrenaline to their day. And for those who prefer a more relaxed pace, there are plenty of places to wade in the water and soak up the sun.

One thing to keep in mind, though, Rocky Bottom Swimming Hole isn’t for the faint of heart. The currents can be strong, and the rocks can be slippery, so be sure to bring your A-game and your sense of adventure.

6. The Shoug (Washougal River, Miles 15-16)

Four pelicans flying in a row from top of frame center to lower frame center. Thy are large birds with large wings. The birds are mostly white with black accents. The sky is the background.

You might see birds swooping overhead at the Shoug Swimming Hole.

©iStock.com/Elizabeth Lara

Have you heard about the Shoug Swimming Hole on Washougal River? If not, keep reading!

This swimming hole is located at Washougal River’s miles 15-16, so it’s easily accessible for families and groups of friends looking to beat the heat. The water is crystal clear and perfect for swimming, and there are plenty of spots to lounge in the sun and soak up the scenic views. The Shoug Swimming Hole is truly a nature lover’s paradise!

But what really sets this swimming hole apart is the natural slide formed by the smooth rock formations. It’s an awesome way to cool off and have some fun under the bright sun. And for those feeling a little more adventurous, there are spots to jump into the deep water from the surrounding rocks.

Not only is The Shoug Swimming Hole a great place to escape the city’s hustle and bustle, but it’s also teeming with wildlife and natural resources to enjoy. You might see birds swooping overhead, or even spot some fish swimming just beneath the surface of the water.

Additional Swimming Holes

Here are some resources that provide a list of more swimming holes on the Washougal River:

  • The Pacific Northwest Swimming Hole Hall of Fame on Portland Monthly’s website includes information on several swimming holes along the Washougal River.
  • The website swimmingholes.org provides a listing of several swimming holes along the Washougal River.
  • Yelp also provides user reviews of swimming holes near Washougal, including Dougan Falls, Sandy Swimming Hole, and Lacamas Creek Trail.
  • Outdoor Project has compiled a list of the 50 best swimming holes in Washington state, some of which are located along the Washougal River.

Summary of the 6 Washougal River Swimming Holes

RankSwimming Hole
1Dougan Falls
2Sandy Swimming Hole
3Naked Falls
4Hathaway Park
5Rocky Bottom
6The Shoug
Summary Table of the 6 Washougal River Swimming Holes

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About the Author

Jennifer Gaeng is a writer at A-Z-Animals focused on animals, lakes, and fishing. With over 15 years of collective experience in writing and researching, Jennifer has honed her skills in various niches, including nature, animals, family care, and self-care. Hailing from Missouri, Jennifer finds inspiration in spending quality time with her loved ones. Her creative spirit extends beyond her writing endeavors, as she finds joy in the art of drawing and immersing herself in the beauty of nature.

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