The Lewis and Clark Journey Along The Columbia River

LCEnterWA   (Info found here.)

The Lewis and Clark Journey along the Columbia River reveals a snapshot of an  historical expedition through Oregon and Washington.

Travelers seeking an excellent getaway will find ample information to plan their river and mountain based adventure. Explore Mt. Hood and Columbia River Gorge with Cultural Oregon for additional ideas, lodging & getaways.

lewis and clark

If you were to travel a path that followed the Columbia River you would be retracing the steps of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark as they explored the Pacific Northwest more than 100 years ago.  Imagine the excitement on the Lewis and Clark journey, as they realized they had found the gateway to the Pacific. Because their trip was well documented from their journals we know a lot about what they saw and where they saw it.

The path taken by Lewis and Clark wanders from side to side along the Columbia River.As the Columbia River is the border between the state of Oregon and the state of Washington historic Lewis and Clark locations can be found in both states. Interesting locations on both Washington and Oregon sides of the Columbia River Gorge are included.

When the expedition arrived at the Columbia River there were only about 450 miles from their goal, the Pacific Ocean. They initially thought that their trip down river to the Pacific would be easy, but they were soon faced with the rushing rapid filled waters of the Columbia River Gorge which extended for 55 miles downriver.

The following are some of the interesting sites they encountered on this potion of their journey.

Lewis and Clark National Park

The Lewis and Clark journey experienced a severe winter in 1805-1806 sheltered in a 50 square-foot cabin that they named Fort Clatsop, which was named for the Clatsop Indians who were their nearest neighbors.

Fort Clatsop which was tFort Clatsophe first military establishment the United States had on the Pacific coast. It wasn’t fortified and the 250 square-foot fort was home to 31 members of the expedition as well as an infant.

Nothing remains of the original. In 1955, as part of the celebration for the 150th anniversary of the Lewis and Clark expedition, volunteers built a replica of the original fort.

Today it is a national monument located in the Lewis and Clark National Park. (Map) The fort was located less than 15 miles from what is now Astoria in Oregon

The park’s visitor center includes a replica of Fort Clatsop. There’s also an interpretive center where you can wander through the exhibit & watch two films about this segment of the Lewis and Clark journey along  the Columbia River and more extensive expedition information as you top off your visit by stopping off at the gift shop.

Each day the center has interesting programs that are led by park rangers. Park rangers dressed in authentic costumes are in the Fort and also can be found at the trailheads Fort To Sea Trail and Netul River Trail.

Hikers will love the 6 mile Fort to Sea Trail where they can walk in the steps of the Lewis and Clark expedition. The trail is in the woods and is pretty much the same lush forest as when Lewis and Clark walked it. The trail ends at Sunset Beach on the Pacific Ocean. A shorter trail is the Netul River Trail which is about 1.5 miles and connects Fort Clatsop to the Netul Landing.

The park is huge and comprises 12 sites within Oregon and Washington states. Besides the sites recreation activities other activities include kayaking and canoeing on the Netul River, camping, biking and hiking. Much of the park is undisturbed and appears as it did over 100 years ago when Lewis and Clark first walk-through it.

Ecola State Park

Oregon CoastWhen the expedition learned that there was a beached whale a short distance down the coast members of the expedition decided they would go to see it and get blubber. The site that held the beached whale was a short distance from Ecola Creek that was named by Captain Clark. Inside the park there is a 2.5 mile interpretive trail which offers visitors the opportunity to experience the same difficult route used by expedition members. In addition to hiking, Ecola State Park has tons of recreational activities including surfing, walk-in camping, lighthouse viewing and beach exploration. (Map)

Cape Disappointment

Cape Disappointment is a Washington state park (map) formerly called Fort Canby State Park. It Is on Washington’s Long Beach Peninsula and is bordered by the Pacific Ocean. The park beachfront is two miles long and has two lighthouses, hiking trails and a visitor interpretive center. The interpretive center is focused on the Lewis and Clark expedition.

In addition to learning about Lewis and Clark visitors can watch ships, go beach combing, go hiking or visit the nearby towns where special events and countless festivals are held every season but winter

Winter survival and the Salt Works Played a Important Role in The Lewis and Clark Journey 

Salt WorksMuch of the time that the expedition spent at Fort Clatsop was devoted to re-provisioning the expedition for the trek home that they hoped to begin in March 1806.

Nearly out of salt, members of the expedition discovered they contain salt from settlers and Indians in what is now Seaside, Oregon. Though only 15 miles from Fort Clatsop, the team spent over two months there.

They found the right rocks to make a furnace and then kept the furnace going 24 hours a day as they boiled seawater to make salt. When they returned to Fort Clatsop they had 28 gallons of salt.

Today live actors dressed as expedition members tend to the same type of salt making equipment used by the expedition. The process is very interesting to watch and there are a lot of other fun things to do while you are in Seaside. This reenactment takes place the third weekend of August.

Oregon and Washington Resources related to the Lewis and Clark Journey along the Columbia are easily accessible and fun stops for travelers as well.
Lewis & Clark signtoday_Trail_Logo            Map_Lewis-Clark_Expedition map-of-the-lewis-and-clark-route-across-louisiana-territory-c-1804-1806

Sacajawea State Park & Interpretive Center (Pasco Washington)

Lewis & Clark Interpretive Overlook (Richland Washington)

Columbia River Exhibition of History, Science, and Technology (Richland Washington)

Columbia Gorge Discovery Center (The Dalles, Oregon)

Bonneville Lock and Dam Visitor Center (North Bonneville, WA or Cascade Locks, Oregon)

Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center (Stevenson Washington)

 Lewis & Clark stamp

About Ann Laemmlen Lewis

Thank you for visiting! I hope you enjoy the things shared here.
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