Lewis and Clark National Historical Park spans the border of Washington and Oregon where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean. When Lewis and Clark made their epic journey across the United States, the finally spotted the Pacific Ocean from the Washington side of the river. But the coast there wasn’t a good place to spend the winter, so they moved across the river and built Fort Clatsop on the Oregon coast, west of present-day Astoria.
President Jefferson sent the Corps of Discovery west in May, 1804. Lewis and Clark led this expedition which began in St. Louis, went up the Missouri River, and headed west to the Pacific. They reached the Pacific in November 1805.
Fort Clatsop was small with a few dingy rooms where the Corps rested, repaired, and prepared for the journey back. During the three months at Fort Clatsop it rained all but 12 days. The native Clatsop and Chinook tribes showed the men of the expedition how to fish and make canoes.
Today the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park has a big picnic are and a nice Visitors Center and museum. We watched both the movies: one about the Corps of Discovery journey and another about the winter at Fort Clatsop. The fort is reconstructed and sometimes living historians give demonstrations.
We walked the Nutal River Trail and then headed to Fort Stevens State Park at the mouth of the Columbia. Enjoying the beautiful weather, we walked along the break wall and then the river. We saw lots of boats heading up and down the Columbia River. We could see Cape Disappointment and the Washington part of Lewis and Clark National Historical Park across the river.
If you are interested in the Corps of Discovery, Lewis and Clark National Historical Park is a must-see. You can imagine the men in their tiny, smokey rooms waiting out the winter, and then packing up for a return journey. The journey home wouldn’t be any easier but President Jefferson was waiting for their report.