The Columbia River Gorge has long been recognized as a mecca for the two sports, and Spring Creek Hatchery State Park is a premier spot. Strong west winds drive against the river currents, creating big swells and frothy whitecaps. The park is so well known for its waves, it has even played host to professional windsurfing competitions.
Not into windsurfing? No problem! Enjoy a few hours watching for eagles, peregrine falcons, beaver and, of course, salmon. The Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery is just next door, offering self-guided tours on weekdays and during spawning season. If you’d rather catch fish than watch them, the shore areas provide a respectable small-mouth bass habitat.
Though Spring Creek Hatchery is open for day-use only, Maryhill State Park, located an hour east, has camping and enough activities to keep the whole family busy for days. Up for more windsurfing or kiteboarding? Doug’s Beach State Park, between Spring Creek and Columbia Hills, promises more whitecaps, wind and dramatic views of the eastern gorge.
Spring Creek Hatchery State Park is a 10-acre day-use park located in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, in southeast Skamania County, and is a premier windsurfing and kiteboarding site. Only experienced windsurfers and kite boarders are encouraged to use this part of the Columbia River. The nearby towns of Bingen/White Salmon and Hood River offer diverse dining options after a day on the water.
The park offers approximately 200 parking spaces, primitive picnicking, and six unsheltered picnic tables. There is no potable water or garbage service at the park. Visitors must pack out what they pack in.
Water activities & features
Personal watercraft use
Interpretive programs and self-guided tours are available at the adjacent Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and on select weekends during spawning seasons.
In addition to touring the hatchery, visitors can enjoy wildlife viewing at the park. Wildlife that frequent the site include bald eagles, osprey, peregrine falcons, flickers, beavers, and many other small mammals, amphibians, and reptiles. Three species of endangered salmon are known to be present in this area of the Columbia River, an area designated as a critical habitat. These include the Snake River sockeye salmon, Snake River spring / summer Chinook salmon, and the Snake River fall Chinook salmon. Two species of steelhead that are proposed for listing as endangered also are present, including the upper Columbia River steelhead and Snake River steelhead. Many fish attempt to spawn at the waters of the National Fish Hatchery, just east of the park.
The Spring Creek site was historically used by Native Americans for fishing. Although explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark may not have stopped at the particular park site, they did pass through the area while traveling along the river.
At one point, a homestead existed on part of the park property. The site and most of the surrounding area were later owned by the former Broughton Lumber Company. The Broughton mill was established by 1901, primarily as a planing mill which planed rough cut boards. The rough cut boards were cut from raw timber at another mill in Willard, Washington, and then transported by flume to the Broughton mill. Broughton established the first fish hatchery at the approximate site of the current hatchery in 1901. The surrounding area, including the state park, was used by Broughton as a recreation area. At one time the site included a boat ramp.
The fish hatchery was reconstructed in the 1940s following the construction of Bonneville Dam. The Corps of Engineers acquired the hatchery and neighboring property to the west, including the park land, in the 1960s. The hatchery was remodeled and the paved road was installed.
When windsurfing became the prominent recreation activity at the park, management was given to Washington State Parks.