Lower Columbia Boat Launches

Boat Launches in the Area :
Boat launches on the Columbia river from the mouth to Bonneville dam will be shown here when this article is complete.   There are many launches on both the Washington and Oregon side of the river in this vicinity.  Prices listed below may be obsolete as this list was assembled a few years ago.

(1) Illwaco::   Port of Illwaco 165 Howerton Ave., Illwaco, WA 98624 360-642-3143                                   $5.00                               
(2) Fort Canby:: (State Park)                                                                                                                      $5.00
(3) Chinook:: Port of Chinook, 1 Portland St., Chinook, WA 98614 360-777-8797                                        $5.00 
(6) Hammond:: Hammond Marina 1099 Iredale St., Hammond, OR 97121 503-861-319                                 $5.00  
                                                                                                             with a parking fee of                    $5.00
(7) Warrenton:: Warrenton Marina 550 NE Harbor Pl., Warrenton, OR 97146 503-861-3822, 
                                                                        harbormaster's cell 503-791-1925 launch fee                      $5.00 
(8) Skipanon Marina:: Skipanon Marina 200 NE Skipanon Drive, Warrenton, OR 97146 503-861-0362 
(9) Youngs bay Yacht Club:: Youngs Bay Park Astoria, OR 503-325-7275                                                      free
(10) East mooring basin ramp::    foot of 36th St. Astoria, OR                                                                     free
(11) John Day River ramp::  (Tongue Point) (county launch)                                                                       $3.00
(4)  Deep River:: WDFW launch, formerly Eva's Bait & Tackle                                                                      free
(   ) Deep River::  WDFW launch above Eva's, new 2008  (unimproved)
(13) Skomokiwa

(15) Cathlamet:: Elochoman Marina P.O. Box 651, Cathlamet, WA 98612 360-795-3501                              $6.00
(   )  Puget Island (Cathlamet area)::  there is a new 2009 WDFW launch on the river side below the Wana power lines

(15) Beaver Creek::  Claskinine OR. on the right on the west side of town                                                  free
(16) Willow Grove::   West of Longview  (described below)                                                                       $5.00 
(17) Rainier OR::
(18) Gearhart Gardens::  Longview                                                                                                            free
(19) St Helens OR
(20) Kalama Boat Basin launch ::
(21) Martins Bar :: , New launch to be made at Woodland  4 1/2 miles below the Lewis river mouth (probably 2013/14
(22) Austin Point, Lewis River launch::  Woodland area,                                                           Private & pay fee
(23) Marine Park, Water Works ::   (Vancouver)   
(24) Port of Camas - Washougal ::
(25) Beacon Rock State Park ::
(26) Fort Cascades Boat Ramp ::  Just below
Bonneville Dam

 Illwaco :  The launch at Illwaco is off the main road into town just after you drop down off the hill, take a left at the sign that says launching ramp.  If you miss that, then just go to the stop light, turn left and the frontage road at the dock area, follow it to the eastern end and around the boat basin to the launch on the south east side. There is a nice new two lane ramp, also a sling, with lots of paved parking.  The fuel dock is near the launch.    The channel was dredged the summer of 2003.

Fort Canby :  To get to Fort Canby, you have to go west thru the town of Illwaco, at the stop light, west and south, then back east, winding up thru the park then down to the ramp. The State Parks is planning to improve this launch in the early summer of 2004.  The plans are to install a 3rd lane and to increase parking.

Chinook :  The Chinook launch is off Portland Street. It has a new concrete ramp and a sling, parking has been expanded and some overflow is along the streets.  Also the channel out of the Chinook harbor  was dredged as of September 2003, so navigating out of here for the small boat should be a lot better. 

Deep River :   This launch and some acreage has recently (early 2011) been purchased by  WDFW and renovated it in the summer of 2014.  

It is used by many sturgeon and salmon fishermen.   It takes 30 minutes to run from this launch to the Astoria bridge. This launch is located off State Route 4 between Naselle and Cathlamet.  If you are coming from Longview on Hiway 4,  you would go thru Cathlamet, Skamokawa, up over a large hill, there is a community of Rosburg.  The next river you cross will be Deep River, this is a low wide concrete bridge.  This is 25 miles from Cathlamet.  TAKE A LEFT AT THE WEST END OF THE BRIDGE ONTO ONIEDA RD.  This is a dead end road. The ramp is a single lane blacktop ramp, small loading dock, and a reasonable parking trailer lot, but a large mowed field as an overflow lot that is slightly farther south and on the west side of the road.  There is also in an adjacent field of about 5 acres room for dry camping. The one drawback here is at a low tide the channel as you enter the bay is also narrow. 

Eva's Bait and tackle 121 Onieda Rd Nasselle WA 98638 360-465-2582.  This bait shack is on the top of a hill before you get to the ramp area.  She has frozen bait bait during the season. 

This launch is popular with sturgeon fishermen as well as salmon fishermen this time of the year you may have to wait to launch or load at the prime times.  There is not enough dock area to tie up to for more than launching and loading purposes.  You would have to load your boat back on the trailer if you were going to stay overnight.  They do not allow power loading because the rock off the end of the ramp can be washed out. There are Sanicans for restrooms here.   A fish cleaning station is also provided.

Eva's Bait & tackle WDFW Deep River launch  launch at a high tide

At low tide the channel is narrow.  There is a deadhead log that has one end floating, but appear to not be submerged at high tide and are most always showing.   It is West and close to Rocky Point and between Portuguese Point in more open water, but if you hang wide at Rocky Pointt, you should be outside of it.

The piling markers for the Deep River channel seem to use their own numbers, and after you get in the bay some of these numbers may be repeated.

When you run out of the river and enter the bay you need to follow the piling markers close, but stay on the right hand side going out, water depth will be between 6' and 9' on a low tide.  These markers are all within sight of each other (150yds)  unless you get fog, which may be occasionally in the mornings.   The 1st piling out will be #16, then #14, and then #12.  From here you start into a right hand corner to #10.  Between #10 and 8  is where it is sanded in.     Swing close toward the RH shore  from #12 to loop around #10, then toward #8, staying to it's right, you will be in the channel.  Now from here you can follow the shore piling on down to Rocky Point.  Do not hold tight to this marker here as it sits on a rock outcropping.  Make another right hand corner beyond the point and head Southwest for about 400yd to within 100yd of the shore.  You will now head South keeping the shore on your right, heading toward but keeping West of piling marker #14A .

Willow Grove :  This launch is west of Longview and operated by the Cowlitz County Dept. of Public Works.  The picture below says yearly launch permits obtainable at 360-577-3030.  

Willow Grove ramps Willow Grove preparation area

Take I-5 south to the first Longview exit, (Exit 40) to Highway 4, on to Long Beach.   You need to take a right at this exit, go past the school and south toward town.   At the stop light (2nd) at the bridge get in the right hand turning lane, take a right, go over the bridge.   You will need to be in the RH lane later on and with a boat behind, this is a good time to move over while on the bridge, as you may have less other traffic.

The 2nd stop light after the bridge has a free Right turn onto Highway 4 to Cathlamet.

Stay on Hiway 4, go thru the west part of town.  When you get to the far western outskirts there will be another stop light that will be the intersection of Highway 432.  It will say Willow Grove Launch, take a left at this stop light.

The next right in about a mile will be the Willow Grove Rd, take it and a couple of miles, beyond the boat moorage and house boats, when you think you may have missed it, the launch will be the just ahead on the left.  The preparation area is to the far left as you enter with trailer parking on the right.

This is a good 4 lane paved concrete ramp.  The parking area has 7 lanes of towing vehicle and trailer spots having 32 spots per lane.  But, even on a weekend by 10AM they can be all taken during the salmon season.  The rest rooms are at the head of the ramps.  There is a picnic area is on the west side of the parking and separated from it.

The pay booth has been known to be temperamental in accepting your $5.00 bills, so have more than just one.

Rainier OR :

St Helens OR :

Kalama Boat Basin Launch ;  Kalama Port of (360) 673-2325   2 concrete launch ramps, 222 slip public marina with fuel and restroom facilities

Directions: I-5 northbound: Exit 27 - Todd Road / I-5 southbound: Exit 30 - Kalama.

Martins Bar, Dike Road ;  Woodland    New improved launch to be made at Woodland  4 1/2 miles below the Lewis river mouth (probably 2013/14)

3 Launches Ramp - natural ,  Gravel  Parking    The boat ramp is the sand river bank. The sand is soft and loose. Traction may be difficult. The access has a moderate grade and is probably most suitable for hand launching and smaller watercraft.  Site is primitive with uneven and rough roads.

Directions:  From Woodland; S on South Pekins Rd .5 mile; Turn R on Whalens Rd; go 1.5 mi; Turn L on Dike Rd; go approximately .5 mi; Turn R on a s; Rd; Several access spur Rds are to left.

Austin Point, Lewis River Launch :  Private & pay fee;  This launch is just upriver from the mouth of the Lewis River.


Marine Park, Water Works,   (Vancouver)    4 Launches Ramp - asphalt,  Car Parking Paved and striped,  3 Restrooms Flush

Description:  The boat ramp is in good condition with a gentle grade.  Marine Park is a large park with play equipment, picnic benches, picnic tables, and public phones. The boat ramp area is approximately .3 mile away from the main park.

Directions:  E on SR14 from Vancouver, take first exit. S on Columbia Shores Blvd. E, 1 mi on SE Columbia Parkway, R on Marine Park Drive; follow to launch.


Port of Camas - Washougal ;   4 Launches Ramp - asphalt ,   Car Parking Paved and striped


Beacon Rock State Park ;     A good protected double concrete ramps that share a loading float. The boat ramp is located on a section of river with a slow current. There is a $5 launch fee. Gravel Parking   Restrooms Flush.  The Park offers 916 feet of dock for moorage; cost for moorage is 50 cents per foot, $10 minimum.  Beacon Rock State Park is a large park that offers boat moorage, picnic tables, river access, hiking trails, campsites, and picnic areas. There are two campsites in the boat launch area. Two designated disabled parking spaces.

Directions:  From Vancouver, E on SR 14 35 mi; at Woodward Creek Bridge, R; go to end of Moorage Rd.

  Beacon Rock launch

 Just below Bonneville Dam on the Washington side of the river is Fort Cascades Boat Ramp, this however is a steep ramp and in swifter water.   Directions for it are,  at Bonneville Dam area on SR 14,  R on Dam Access Rd;  go to stop sign. R, go 1.3 mi;  L at boat ramp sign.   

Fort Cascades Boat Ramp ;   Single Launch Ramp - concrete, solid.    2 Restrooms Portable sani-cans.  30 Trailer Parking Paved and striped

Description:  The boat ramp has a steep grade and is located out of the river current. The Bonneville Lock and Dam along with the Fort Cascades Historic Site are located upstream of the boat ramp. Several parking areas designated for fishing are located downstream of the boat ramp. The area is closed from sunset to sunrise.

Copyright 2004 - 2015   LeeRoy Wisner  All Rights Reserved

Back to Ramblings

Last updated 01-06-2006  Last updated 12-29-2014 *
Contact the author