Visitors to Astoria staying at Clementine’s Bed & Breakfast in the city’s National Historic District will find six High Potential Historic Sites on the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail nearby in Oregon and Washington. 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System, so it’s a great time to have ‘”an adventure in history” and explore these sites along the shores of the Columbia River that are so important to the United States’ westward expansion. The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail follows the route of the Corps of Discovery during 1804 to 1806 as they searched for a water route from the Midwestern plains to the Pacific Ocean. The Trail begins near St. Louis and traverses 11 states on its way to the Pacific at the mouth of the Columbia River. Below are three of the Historic Sites near Astoria, two across the Columbia River in Washington State, and one in Astoria.
Stormy weather on the Columbia River forced the expedition to shelter at Dismal Nitch for almost a week in November, 1805. The probable location for Dismal Nitch is just across the Astoria-Megler Bridge, at the Megler Rest Area on US Highway 101. A short trail leads from the rest area to the expedition’s encampment site. The rest area also has wayside interpretive exhibits.
While the expedition camped at Dismal Nitch, Lewis’ and a smaller party explored the surrounding area. They reached Cape Disappointment, where the men had their first view of the Pacific. Today, Cape Disappointment State Park in Iwalco, WA, highlights the Cape’s dramatic scenery, varied habitats, and inviting beaches. The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center provides visitors with information, films, and interactive exhibits about the Corps of Discovery. Visitors can hike in terrain from old growth forest to saltwater marshes and along the shores of freshwater lakes. Cape Disappointment is about a half hour drive from our bed and breakfast, but is a shorter drive if you already are visiting Dismal Nitch.
Middle Village – Station Camp, Lewis and Clark National Historical Park
After leaving Dismal Nitch, the expedition travelled on, exploring and mapping the northern shore of the river. They camped here at a Chinook fishing village that was not occupied during the winter. This area in the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park focuses on Chinookan history and culture. Visitors can follow a system of footpaths with interpretive features and scenic vistas of the Columbia River. The site is located on Fort Clatsop Road in Astoria, about 5 miles south of the B&B on Route 101.
Our next blog will describe the three other High Potential Historic Sites near Astoria, Oregon. There is extensive information about the Lewis and Clark Trail: From the Plains to the Pacific on the National Trails System website. You will find descriptions of all the High Potential Historic Sites on the Trail, plus many kinds of maps including an Interactive Trail Atlas, story maps, and a map locating all the Lewis and Clark Visitors Centers and Museums.
Plan to spend several days in Astoria to explore all these Historic Sites on the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. Our bed and breakfast makes a great home base for your adventure in history when you reserve one of our Moose Lodge vacation rentals for your stay. Each of these suites includes a well-equipped kitchen, comfortable living area, luxurious bedding, spa robes, free parking, and internet.
Michelle Roth Photo of Columbia River courtesy of Astoria Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce