Washougal was officially incorporated on December 4, 1908. The Mount Pleasant Grange Hall is the oldest continually used grange hall in Washington.
This small community is located on the Washington side of the Columbia River, with its lowlands and famous prairie situated on the west entrance to the scenic Columbia River Gorge. Motorists who approach Washougal from the west on the Lewis & Clark Highway (HWY 14) can see Mount Hood rising above the Cascade Mountains framed by the columnar cliffs that signal the gateway of the Gorge. It is home to Excelsior High School and Washougal High School.
It can be accurately stated that Washougal is the “crossroads to discovery” in the Pacific Northwest. Shortly after Capt. Robert Gray, a Boston fur trader, entered the mouth of the Columbia River in May 1792, the famed British explorer George Vancouver traveled to the region to verify Gray’s discovery. In October 1792, Vancouver directed a young Lieutenant named William Broughton to lead a party of men in a longboat up the Columbia to explore its headwaters. Broughton came as far as present-day Washougal and landed near the east end of Reed Island. He named Mount Hood after a British admiral and Point Vancouver after his commanding officer.
Captain Gray’s discovery of the Columbia opened trade between Europeans and Chinook Indians who lived along the lower Columbia between the Cascade region and the river’s mouth. U.S., British, Spanish, and Russian fur traders bartered for sea otter and beaver skins in the late 18th century. Then, another important group of explorers visited the region in 1805–1806, but this group came from the east, which marked the first cross-continental expedition. These famed explorers were Meriwether Lewis & William Clark.
Washougal is located 18 miles (29 km) east of Vancouver on SR 14. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.30 square miles (16.32 km2), of which, 5.42 square miles (14.04 km2) is land and 0.88 square miles (2.28 km2) is water.
Washougal is in the Columbia River Gorge along the Washougal River, which runs through town.