Fort Clatsop, Oregon


In November, 1805, the Lewis and Clark Expedition had finally reached the Pacific Ocean near the mouth of the Columbia River.  They were encamped on the north side at a place they called Station Camp, but after a discussion and vote, decided to wait out the winter on the south side of the river.  Station Camp was open and exposed to storms blowing in from the sea, and there was little game to be found.

From Station Camp, they crossed the Columbia River and made temporary camp at Tongue Point, just east of present-day Astoria, Oregon.  Then they canoed west along the river, south into Youngs Bay, and up what they called the Netul River (now the Lewis and Clark River).  They began construction of the small fort on December 9, 1805, and moved in on Christmas Day.  They named this structure Fort Clatsop, after the Clatsop tribe who lived nearby.  A reconstruction of the fort now stands on the site in the Fort Clatsop National Memorial, about two miles southwest of Warrenton, Oregon.

While construction began on the fort, a small party was also sent about seven miles away to present-day Seaside, Oregon, to process salt from seawater.

On January 8, 1806, William Clark and a few others traveled to the coast at present-day Ecola State Park to see the skeletal remains of a whale that had washed up.

On March 23, 1806, the Expedition left Fort Clatsop on their homeward journey.

Fort Clatsop Visitor Center

I arrived at the Fort Clatsop Visitor Center around 10:00 am.  Currently the cost to see the exhibits and the fort is a mere $3.  Exact change is highly recommended, especially if you are one of the first visitors of the day.  The poor guy ended up changing my $20 out of his own pocket.

Fort Clatsop Reconstruction

After a quick look around the visitor center, I made the short walk through the woods to the reconstructed fort.

Fort Clatsop Canoe Landing

A slightly longer but easy trail leads from the fort to the Lewis and Clark River (Netul River to the Expedition), where they landed their canoes.

There were some cute Douglas squirrels along the trails, and I think I saw a chipmunk.

As I was getting into my car, two full-size tour buses rolled up.