Trip Report: Dabney State Recreation Area Disc Golf Course
Location: Dabney State Recreation Area Disc Golf Course
Conditions: Sunshine and 80 degrees. Light wind.
Duration: 18 holes. The course took roughly 2 hours (we were taking our time for sure).
Difficulty: This course proved challenging due to several swamps, varied terrain, lots of trees to dodge, and baskets that were hard to see.
Kid Friendly: If they disc golf...
Pet Friendly: No pets allowed in the park.
The Full Report:
What a lovely afternoon to get out and sling some discs! Next Adventure's own IT guru Rob, apparel buyer Erin, and office manager Brenda (me) ventured out to Dabney for an afternoon of disc golfing fun. We left Portland around 4 pm, hit up the Big Bear's Country Market (just up the Hwy 30 past Dabney in Springdale) to grab some beers and snacks, and were on the course by 5 pm. If you've never been to Dabney, it is quite popular on the weekends but very nice on weekdays. Not only does it sport a sweet 18-hole disc golf course, it also has multiple wooded trails and swimming access to the Sandy River with nice sandy beaches.
I must be completely transparent in the fact that I am a novice disc golfer. The course was challenging for sure, but knowing my limitations saved me trips into the swamp and lost discs. Playing strictly for fun, it was no problem and a great practice in humility.
Hole 1 started with a long drive over a pond. I didn't want to risk losing a disc first thing, so I skipped the first drive, but my partners cleared the pond no problem. It was gravy from there. There are several springs and creeks throughout Dabney, creating water hazards and multiple squishy, muddy areas. I managed to land in a swamp on Hole 2 but got out of it no problem. Rob found some mud too. We continued on, dodging trees, making some creative throws, and having a bunch of fun.
Some of the holes have maps, some do not, and the baskets move. Even with our expert guide Erin, we had difficulty locating some of the baskets and had to do a little scouting before we threw. They have the standard metal chain baskets, and due to their weathered metal color, coupled with the evening sun, they were often hard to spot in the wooded areas (which is most of them).
I made the mistake of wearing sandals (Sanuk Yoga Sling), which are neither stable nor have traction. Oops. The course covers a multitude of terrain, from slick grass, to steep slopes, to dirt steps, with bushes and woods in between. And if you get in the rough, it is really rough. I'm definitely wearing solid shoes next time.
There are several bridges and boardwalks, making just walking the course an adventure in itself. There were birds galore. I spotted an American Goldfinch, which I don't see very often. And we didn't even really see any other golfers until about Hole 14 which was amazing this close to the city. A couple of the holes are across an open field, which is a nice break from the tree and swamp challenges, and allowed me to experiment with my technique.
We continued on, bouncing discs off trees, making some super creative throws, getting up close and personal with some bushes, and before we knew it we were in the final stretch. Definitely use caution on Holes 16, 17, and 18. They parallel a steep hill to the left, and if your disc goes down the hill you're going to have a bad day. Trust me, I made that mistake, had to scale down the hill to retrieve my disc (which is steep, unstable, and squishy). I found some stinging nettles in the process - yay! Beware of nettles, they are all over the park.
At the end of the day, no discs were lost, everyone improved by the end, and we had a fantastic time. It is a challenging and beautiful course, just outside the city, and an excellent excuse to get out into the woods.