History of Chinook
Located in the southwest corner of the state of Washington, Chinook was originally known as the town of Old Chinookville and was home to over 1,000 native americans until the arrival of white colonists sadly decimated the village with disease. Today the Chinook Indian Nation is alive and well, still practicing the same ceremonies and traditions as their ancestors.
In the early 1800s the town became a famous waypoint for Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. Later on, Chinook became a wealthy town due to the rich salmon fishery at the mouth of the Columbia River.
Fort Columbia Historic State Park is considered the most intact, historic coastal defense unit in the United States. Construction began on three forts to protect the mouth of the Columbia River in the late nineteenth century.
Now, these coastal defense sites can be explored by visitors. Stroll through the park and view restored historic barracks, gun emplacements and batteries. Explore the seasonal interpretive center features artifacts and history of the Chinook people. The park also features Vacation Rentals and a trail system with spectacular views of the Astoria-Megler Bridge and the Columbia River.
The other two forts, Ft. Adams and Ft. Canby were originally built to protect the mouth of the Columbia River during the Spanish-American War, then served the same purpose in both world wars. The remains of Fort Canby can be found throughout Cape Disappointment State Park.
The Middle Village-Station Camp was used as a rest stop for the Corps of Discovery, and Clark used it as a primary survey station as he mapped the mouth of the Columbia River. The Chinook people, who have lived along the Columbia for thousands of years, used this site as a trade village.
Today, visitors can also use the camp as a roadside rest stop. There’s plenty to explore! It’s also the perfect place to relax and drink a cup of coffee with a view. Walk around and explore St. Mary’s Church, canoes, and a trail with an overlook platform.
In 1805 Lewis and Clark paddled along the treacherous Columbia River bar to the Chinook village, continuing their journey on the Long Beach Peninsula. However, a terrible storm that trapped the Corps of Discovery in a rocky cove off the Columbia River for six stormy days now known as Dismal Nitch. Today visitors can walk in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark’s Chinook travels at this historic location.
And don’t let the depressing name fool you! Dismal Nitch happens to have a great picnic area with views of the Columbia and Astoria-Megler Bridge.
Chinook County Park
Just off Hwy. 101 in Chinook. With views of the mighty Columbia, Astoria, and Oregon’s Saddleback Mountain, it’s a beautiful spot to relax and enjoy lunch. The picnic area is just feet away from the water.
The Columbia River Roadhouse and Sports Bar is a Texas-style restaurant with a “southern” kick, a perfect place for happy hour. Pop by Chinook Coffee Co. to get your caffeine craving satisfied. Try their freshly baked cookies or cinnamon rolls. Enjoy lunch at The Old Fishtrap for delicious seafood and burgers.
If you’re looking for more options close by, check out our restaurant page!
The Port of Chinook offers a variety of amenities and services ideal for commercial and sport fishing. The marina accommodates up to 300 vessels. Call the port office for updated hours during the summer months.
Here are some of the amenities of the port:
Commercial and recreational moorage.
Boat trailer parking and ancillary services.
Annual and transient moorage are available.