• Activities:

    Chillin, Photography

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Forest
Groups
Handicap Accessible
Picnic Area
River
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Set foot where Lewis & Clark ended their adventure westward to find the opening of the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean

Tucked in a forest within a few minutes drive of Astoria and along the Columbia River, Lewis and Clark National Historic Park is small in size but rich in history.  If you're a wanderluster who appreciates learning about the early explorers that came before you this is a can't miss spot.  My own interest in exploration began after reading the book Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose, so this was an exciting moment for me.

The Fort Clatsop Visitor Center is very clean, the forest has a pristine feel to it with various wildflowers, berries, insects, and wildlife (I saw a bald eagle sitting on a perch in the water!), and the 6.5 mile Fort-to-Sea Trail (among the shorter trails within the Visitors Center) is well kept.  Inside the center you'll find an exhibit hall, museum of the gadgets used and way of life for Lewis & Clark's Corp of Discovery, and a theater playing what looks like an orientation to how the Lewis & Clark expedition survived the winter.  You'll also find an Interpretive Center that offers little activities for children.

There are guided tours available that are probably worth paying for, but the park does a terrific job of putting up signs explaining the natural history of the area if you prefer being on your own.  Another option is the guided river paddle tour, but I am unfamiliar with the details.

Once you go outside you can step foot in Fort Clatsop itself to see the living conditions of the Corps.  Even though it's a replica, it's fascinating to imagine yourself living back in time when the United States was still expanding and forming into the size it is today.

My time here was short, so my own plan is to head back and hike the Fort-to-Sea trail from Fort Clatsop to Sunset Beach.  From what the Park Rangers said it is now about as close as it can get to the actual path taken by the Corps of Discovery to reach the Pacific.

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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Jared Blitz Explorer

Fitness and Wellness Manager at JCC Denver, an exercise physiologist, a lover of the outdoors, and fulfilled by shooting landscape photography.

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