Get outside and take a walk through a park as you fling a frisbee along the course at the Dabney State Recreation Area near Troutdale, Oregon. On the scenic yet un-manicured course, you hike through the woods and fields following signs that direct you towards 18 holes of frisbee golf. Par 3? Not within my talent range, but it’s all in good fun and is good exercise as well.
What is the park like?
In addition to frisbee golf, the park has a volleyball net, covered shelters you can reserve, well-kept bathrooms, and paths that take you to the river’s edge. When we visited at the end of August after a dry summer, the Sandy River was calm, shallow, and lovely. The banks are lined with river rocks, with a few sandy areas. There were a few people there setting off to float downstream, and a few people playing in the water, but generally you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a quiet place to be by yourself. If you do want to get in the water, I would recommend water shoes, as the river rocks can be very slippery. After a heavy rain or in the late spring when the river fills with snow-melt, the water can be treacherous, so use standard water safety rules and your own common sense.
As you enter the park, there is a $5 day use fee, which helps keep the park clean and fairly well-kept. The trails are not paved, so anyone with mobility issues will have difficulty. The parking lot on your left leads you to the frisbee golf. The parking lot on your right leads to the boat launch. Note: there are no dogs allowed in the park. We did see several park employees there, and there are signs of improvements being made to sections of the golf course.
How do you play?
To play the Frisbee Golf course, you need to bring your own frisbees. There is no additional fee to play. Start at hole #1 and work way through the old orchard, the open field, and the grove of tall fir trees. You let the frisbee fly towards a distant target which looks like a giant metal wine glass. The goal is to get your frisbee inside the target in as few throws as possible. The target is not always visible from the starting point, and there are plenty of tree obstacles which makes it even more challenging. Solid frisbees are recommended as the ones shaped like a halo are prone to get stuck in the trees easily (trust me on that one.) It’s a challenging course for the novice, but all the more fun. Of course, you can stop at any time – you don’t have to do the entire 18 holes.
Where is Dabney Park?
The park is located a few miles outside downtown Troutdale, Oregon off I-84 as you enter the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area east of Portland. There are several restaurants nearby, and downtown Troutdale offers plenty of amenities. I’d take a stroll through downtown Troutdale, stop for lunch, a beer, or ice-cream and enjoy this beautiful little town. So many miss the historic downtown area just a few blocks off of the Interstate and don’t realize Troutdale is much more than an outlet mall by the freeway.