Lewis & Clark National Historical Park: 15 Things to Do & See

Sep 23, 2019History, Recreation

Did you know that Washington’s Long Beach Peninsula is part of a National Historic Park? The Lewis & Clark National and State Historic Park is unique in that it spans two states (Washington and Oregon), as well as three forts, an 8.5 long paved coastal trail, and two working lighthouses! There are over 20 sights of significance with interpretive and art installations ready for your enjoyment.

Lewis & Clark National and State Historic Park attracts history buffs and tourists from around the world eager to learn about our unique history and discover the stunning beauty of the Lower Columbia Region. Here is a checklist of the National Park installations on the Washington Side. Stop by the Visitors Center in Seaview for brochures and maps and see how many you can visit!

Dismal Nitch

Dismal Nitch is where the Lewis and Clark expedition had to hunker down to wait out a storm, which may explain the reason Clark gave it its now-notorious name. Don’t let the name fool you though because it’s beautiful!

Middle Village – Station Camp

Station Camp is the famous campsite that the Corps of Discovery established in November of 1805 after traveling a mind-boggling 4,100 miles of mostly indigenous untouched terrain from St. Louis to the mouth of the Columbia River.

Fort Columbia

 

Fort Columbia sits high on Chinook Point and features a thought-provoking exhibit about the history of the Chinook Nation.

Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum

The Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum in Ilwaco is the official museum of the National Park and features original artifacts from the expedition, the Chinook peoples, and early settlers to the region.

Lewis & Clark Pocket Park

A beautiful life-sized bronze sculpture called “The Mark of Triumph” by world-renowned artist Stanley Wanlass, commemorates key members of the party witnessing Clark’s carving his initials into a tree. You can find the sculpture in the Pocket Park at 300 Pacific in Long Beach.

Bronze Sturgeon

Clark wrote in his journal about a large sturgeon. “… I saw a Sturgeon which had been thrown on shore and left by the tide 10 feet in length.” A beautiful bronze sculpture of a life sized sturgeon awaits your discovery.

Port of Ilwaco

The Discovery Trail begins (or ends) at the Port of Ilwaco. The life-sized bronze sculpture of a California condor commemorates a condor siting by the Corps of Discovery. There is plenty of parking and lots to do and see at the Port of Ilwaco.

Discovery Trail and Cape Disappointment State Park have so many activities and points of interest that they deserve their own list!

Cape Disappointment State Park

Waikiki Beach and the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse

Both places provide stunning views of the Columbia River where it meets the Pacific Ocean (known as the Columbia River Bar). The Cape Disappointment Lighthouse is one of two working lighthouses on the Long Beach Peninsula. The sweeping view from its position high on a bluff is a breathtaking. The hike up the lighthouse offers gorgeous views of Deadman’s Cove.

Lewis & Clark Interpretitve Center

The center is perched high on a cliff above the mouth of the Columbia River. It houses one of the nation’s best Lewis & Clark exhibits with a theater showing a film on the Corps of Discovery and their time spent in Pacific County.

McKenzie Head Panels

These eight bronze panels note the location and campsite of the Lewis & Clark party at the top of McKenzie Head.

Discovery Trail

The Discovery Trail is an 8.5 mile paved coastal trail stretching from the Port of Ilwaco to north of Long Beach. It’s designed to follow in the footsteps of Clark’s trek up the Peninsula.

Remnants of Gray Whale Skeleton

Clark and his men saw a similar Gray Whale skeleton in 1805. It is a 38-foot rearticulated skeleton of an immature Gray Whale, which washed ashore in the area.

Basalt Monolith

Clark’s Tree

Clark’s Tree is another sculpture by Stanley Wanlass. It’s an impressive 20-  foot tall bronze replica of the tree that Clark carved his initials on in 1805.

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