The Washougal River is an amazing place to swim. From NE Portland it is an easy 30 minute drive to get to this first Washougal River Swimming Hole at Mile marker 3.
There are signs posted at Mile Marker 3 that you need to have a “Discover Pass” turns out that it costs $11.50 per day or $35 a year. Wow, pretty steep. I suppose the money is for maintaining the really gross toilet on site, incidentally at the time of this post there was also no trash can which seems pretty lame considering the high pass fee. Always pack all your trash out and consider bringing an extra bag to leave any swimming hole you visit better than how you found it (pick up for those less enlightened than your bad ass self).
So look into picking up a discover pass before you go frolicking on the Washougal, it will allow you to have more fun - you will be relieved of the paranoia of whether or not you get a ticket which no doubt would be expensive based on the high permit fee.
Once you get parked there is this lovely path down to the Washougal River. The nice thing about Mile Marker 3 is that there is pretty limited parking so if you can get a spot it will not feel too overcrowded.
This swimming hole is pretty sweet. Nice rocky bottom, deep places to swim, a little waterfall off a rock that you can jump in off. Nice sandy areas on the shore.
Here is a photo of Popina designer Pamela Levenson swimming with her dog Cassis (photos by husband Will).
I would recommend this swimming hole if you have already purchased a Discover Pass and it is the weekend. There are free places to swim on the Washougal such as Washougal River Mile Marker 4 (also a good weekend spot). I say this is a good spot for the weekend because believe it or not there are even better places to swim on the Washougal that I imagine would be obscenely crowded on the weekends such as Dougan Falls or Moulton Falls - save those for a “sick day” on a weekday - believe me it is insane enough at these spots during the week as it is.
Have fun and be respectful.