Lewis and Clark National Historical Park

Audio Available:

OVERVIEW: About this Audio-Described Brochure

Welcome to the audio-described edition of the Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Parks brochure. This edition narrates and audio-describes the two-sided color brochure which guides visitors to historic sites related to the Lewis and Clark Expedition along the Pacific Coast and mouth of the Columbia River. Sites featured in this brochure include: Cape Disappointment State Park, Fort Stevens State Park, Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, and Ecola State Park.

This audio-described edition will last approximately 75 minutes 55 seconds. You can skip to the section that interests you. The front side of the brochure interprets history and culture while the back side of the brochure provides orientation. Vignettes on the front side set the stage of the Lewis and Clark Expedition story, delving into the history of the expedition's 1805 to 1806 winter on the Pacific Coast among the Clatsop, Chinook, and Nehalem people. On the back side, a large map details the network of Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Parks, located along the Pacific Coast and mouth of the Columbia River in both Washington and Oregon. On this back side, smaller inset maps show greater detail. Amenities and descriptions of attractions are provided.

For more information contact the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park visitor center at (503) 861-2471 or visit www.nps.gov/lewi.

More about this brochure. Produced and distributed by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, this brochure follows the same iconic template, nicknamed "the unigrid," that is distributed at nearly all National Parks and National Park Service sites. The brochure provides both orientation and inspiration. Maps are paired with photographs, illustrations, and interpretation of nature, culture, and history. 

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OVERVIEW: Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Parks

Located where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean, Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Parks make up a network of culturally and historically significant sites in Washington and Oregon. Since time immemorial, the Clatsop, Chinook, Nehalem, and other Native nations have been rooted here, where the sea meets the forest. In the winter of 1805, the Lewis and Clark Expedition arrived here, having crossed the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains and battling the Columbia River to finally meet the powerful Pacific Ocean. The locations described in this audio brochure are the stages on which stories great and small played. To visit them is to return to a moment in time, when the young United States encountered how little it knew of the west, when Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and their expedition spent a winter far from home, cold, wet, and outmatched by the people and the place.

On your visit to these sites, you can stand before the ocean at Cape Disappointment, feel the fog crawling in along the coast and waves beating the rocky shore below. At Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, you can run your hands along the wooden beams of the recreated Fort Clatsop and take in the smell and flickering sound of campfires. 

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OVERVIEW: Front Side of Brochure

The front side of this brochure includes photographs of scenery and artifacts, text, and quotations and illustrations from historic journals. Along the top and bottom, two large color images frame a body of text. At the center of the brochure, two topic-specific text boxes sit next to each other. A brief overview of the journey of the Corps of Discovery up to its arrival at the mouth of the Columbia River and present-day coastal Washington and Oregon leads into highlights from the Corps's overwinter stay at Fort Clatsop from December 1805 to March 1806.

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IMAGES and TEXT: “Ocian in view! O! the joy.”

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When Capt. William Clark wrote these words in his journal on November 7, 1805, he was not standing at the Pacific Ocean but the Columbia River estuary. It would be another couple of weeks before he or Capt. Meriwether Lewis would stand at what they had “been so long anxious to See.” By then they had traveled over 4,000 miles across the North American continent with a contingent of 31 explorers, mostly U.S. Army enlisted men, known as the Corps of Discovery.

The expedition was President Thomas Jefferson’s idea. He had for years been fascinated by the vast and virtually unknown territory west of the Mississippi River. In June 1803 he announced plans to send an exploratory party by rivers to the Pacific. He chose Lewis to head it, and Lewis selected Clark, his friend and former commanding officer, to share the responsibilities. They were to explore the Missouri River to its source, then establish the most direct water route to the Pacific, making scientific and geographic observations along the way. They were also to learn what they could of Indian tribes they encountered and impress them with the technology and authority of the United States.

The explorers started up the Missouri River from near St. Louis on May 14, 1804. After a tedious journey of five months, they wintered at Fort Mandan, which they built near the Mandan Indian villages 1,600 miles up the Missouri. Here they acquired the interpreting services of Toussaint Charbonneau, a French Canadian trader, and his young Shoshone wife, Sacagawea, accompanied by their infant son, Jean Baptiste.

In April 1805 the Corps of Discovery left Fort Mandan and followed the Missouri and its upper branches into an unmapped world. Along the Lemhi River, in what is now Idaho, Sacagawea’s people provided horses and a guide for the grueling trip over the Continental Divide. In mid-November 1805, after some 600 miles of water travel down the Clearwater, Snake, and Columbia rivers, the Corps of Discovery finally saw the Pacific Ocean after setting up a temporary camp (Station Camp) on a sandy beach on the north shore of the Columbia.

For 10 days the men explored the surrounding area, including Cape Disappointment, looking for a favorable site for a winter encampment. Finally, on November 24, expedition members voted to cross to the south side of the Columbia where game was reported to be plentiful. Lewis and a small party found a “most eligable” site about two miles up the Netul River (now Lewis and Clark River). On December 10, 1805, the men began to build a fort that they named for the local Indian tribe, the Clatsop. By Christmas Day they were under shelter. It would be their home for the next three months.

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IMAGE 2 of 2: Opened journal

IMAGE 2 of 2: Opened journal

DESCRIBING: Small colored inset photograph

SYNOPSIS: A worn leather-bound journal lays open.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: A tattered journal is spread open, showing two pages covered in a dense, longhand script, with tables of measurements. The brown ink shows varying degrees of fading, making some words and figures easier to discern than others. The viewer can see uneven edges of other pages that look as though they would smell musty. A wrinkled leathery exterior is connected to these pages to the right, looking as if it would wrap around the papers once the book is closed, creating a cover. A slender leather cord that would secure the journal closed is diagonally draped from the bottom of the spine to the top of the leather cover. The image is centered in the lower part of the upper half of the brochure, prominently superimposed above the text.

CAPTION: Information collected by Lewis and Clark was laboriously recorded in journals like the one shown here. The explorers updated the journals during the Corps of Discovery’s three month stay at Fort Clatsop.

CREDIT: Missouri Historical Society

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IMAGE 1of 2: Beach with wood

IMAGE 1 of 2: Beach with wood

DESCRIBING: A large color landscape photograph

SYNOPSIS: In the forefront, white-capped waves break along a glassy beach densely littered with dry bleached driftwood. Scattered grey clouds fuse into an unbroken dark cloudbank at the distant horizon. Brown sloping cliffs warmed by low sunlight and topped with grass and evergreen trees rise from the ocean in the upper left. Slightly recessed from the cliff edge, a few structures perch above the bluish-gray waters, the most distinctive being a white cone-shaped lighthouse capped in black. This scene dominates the upper third of the brochure's front side, fading into the opening paragraphs below.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: Cape Disappointment Lighthouse is striped with two broad horizontal black bands and is accompanied by two visible buildings, one low and pinkish to its right and the other slightly taller and white with a reddish roof to its left. Built in 1856 to assist mariners in navigating the mouth of the Columbia, Cape Disappointment Lighthouse is the oldest operating lighthouse in the Pacific Northwest. The perspective is from Waikiki Beach to the north looking southeast. The golden brown of the cliffs is mirrored in the damp sand, and the bone white of the heaping piles of driftwood sticks, logs, and stumps is stained with gold and shadows from the late day sun.

CAPTION: Cape Disappointment State Park, Washington

CREDIT: Ron Niebrugge

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IMAGES and TEXT: Treated with "extrodeanary friendship"

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When Lewis and Clark reached the northwest tip of what is now Oregon in 1805 they found some 400 Clatsop living on the southern side of the Columbia River. Their neighbors, the Chinook, lived on the northern banks of the Columbia and the Pacific Coast, while the Nehalem lived on the coast to the south. They were all wealthy and shrewd traders, masterful canoe builders, with few enemies, and they treated Lewis and Clark with “extrodeanary friendship.”

The captains found them talkative, inquisitive, intelligent, and possessing excellent memories of trading ships visiting the area. Some Clatsops had acquired a few words of English from traders who had visited the area by ship, but communications with them were mainly by gestures. Friendly relations prevailed between the Clatsop and the explorers throughout the winter. When the Corps departed on March 23, 1806, Lewis and Clark gave the fort they had built and its furnishings to the Clatsop leader, Coboway, who QUOTE: “has been much more kind an[d] hospitable to us than any other indian in this neighbourhood.”

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IMAGE 1 of 5: Drawing of salmon

IMAGE 1 of 5: Drawing of salmon

DESCRIBING: Semi-transparent medium-sized sketch from historic journal

SYNOPSIS: Sketch of salmon

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: This sketch of a native coho salmon was drawn by William Clark's own hand. The sketch itself lays behind some text and a map, while still allowing the viewer to fully comprehend the animal. The fish's body appears very stiff and long like a torpedo, with the tail to the left and head facing the right. The drawing details the salmon's anatomy. On the salmon's head just past the eyes, mouth, and gills, a slim fin sticks out. At its tail, Clark has drawn a short, slightly rounded fin that is not forked. On the underside, or belly side of the fish, near the tail, a triangular fin protrudes. On the top of the fish, two fins protrude. One triangular fin is centered along the spine and one smaller fin sticks out near the tail. The mouth of the coho is parted slightly open, and its eye fully shaded in. The ink used is light brown in color and a hatching technique was applied to indicate light and shade. To achieve this effect, fine parallel lines are drawn very close together for a dark shading or farther apart for a lighter shading. The white belly lacks hatching marks while the fins are shaded dark which help identify it as a coho. In place of the fish's scales in real life, the artist represents the scales by the lines.

CAPTION: Salmon were, and still are, a fundamental part of the spiritual and cultural identity of Columbia Basin Indians. Drawing from Clark’s journal.

CREDIT: Missouri Historical Society 

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IMAGE 2 of 5: Map drawing

IMAGE 2 of 5: Map drawing

DESCRIBING: A color image superimposed over salmon sketch

SYNOPSIS: A tan rectangular paper stands tall portraying an artistically rendered rough outline of the mouth of the Columbia River. The page is turned so that north is to the right and south to the left. Dark brown ink is used throughout the piece.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: A land mass is sketched upon the page and resembles an open lobster claw. Deep brown shaded ink lines make the land recognizable in contrast with the water which has no shading. At the top mid-section of the map, a wriggled land mass shoots off the peninsula and tapers with a slight downward curve into the ocean. Below the protruding land mass, a waterway spills into the ocean via various sized estuaries. Illegible long hand tracks along faint lines that burst from the center. Throughout the picture, only the words "Mouth of Columbia River" are distinct in view, snaking their way east to west.

CAPTION: This map drawn by William Clark shows the mouth of the Columbia River, the western terminus of the Lewis and Clark expedition, which arrived there in mid-November 1805.

CREDIT: David Rumsey Map Collection

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IMAGE 3 of 5: Canoe

IMAGE 3 of 5: Canoe

DESCRIBING: A standalone color image surrounded by related images.

SYNOPSIS: A high prow canoe, made of a Western Red Cedar’s reddish brown wood. The prow of the canoe is closest to the viewer, with the body angled back and slightly to the left. The prow is so close and the end so far away that the image almost seems 3-dimensional. The two sides of the canoe come together to create a V shape. Where the two pieces meet, a third rectangular piece is created, and protrudes forward from the V. It creates a tail, and together it depicts a clear Y shape. The thin sides of the boat elegantly curve as they widen in the middle and join back together at the rear of the boat. Thwarts, or wooden dowels, are propped cross-wise between the two sides, a couple inches below the lip of the canoe, as if bracing the canoe open. The thwart is in the widest part at the middle, with each one getting shorter to accommodate the narrowing of the canoe, following the curve of the sides. 2 wooden oars rest laying across two thwarts. They appear to have been made from one piece, delicately carved with flat handles that widen into flat, petal shaped oars. A long rod-like tool rests between the oars, also laying across the thwarts, with a thin piece of flat, rectangular wood attached to ¼ of the length like a blade.

CAPTION: A high-prow canoe used by Indians in the Pacific Northwest.

CREDIT: Michael S. Thompson

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IMAGE 4 of 5: Necklace

IMAGE 4 of 5: Necklace 

DESCRIBING: Small colored photograph

SYNOPSIS: Dentalium shell necklaces

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: Two necklaces made of Dentalium and small red and black beads lay upon the page in an oblong shape as if the viewer could pick them up. These white mollusk shells were harvested off the sea floor by Native peoples and strung into necklaces. The shells are tubular in shape and reach up to 3 inches long and half an inch wide, with some tapering. These two necklaces were constructed with a repeated pattern of one shell, one small red bead, followed by a couple red or black beads, and ending with another red bead.

CAPTION: Dentalium shells were prized as currency and decoration to indicate wealth.

CREDIT: Burke Museum

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IMAGE 5 of 5: Drawing of two people

IMAGE 5 of 5: Drawing of two people

DESCRIBING: A color copy of a sketch from Clark’s journal, surrounded by related images.

SYNOPSIS: A rough sketch of Chinook and Clatsop Indians as drawn in William Clark’s journal.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: The profiles of two figures, sketched with ink that appears to be tinted brown, possibly from age. The figures face the viewers' left, showing full side profiles from head to chest. Both are drawn with long, flattened foreheads, creating a rounded triangular peak at the top of their heads. Their noses are depicted as long and pointed. The nose of the figure on the left has a slight upward curve, while the other has a nose that follows the downward angle of the forehead. A single, narrow eye is present on each face. The left figure has a thin line, showing a slight smile, in place of a mouth. The right figure has an almost unnoticeable indent with no line or smile. Many stringy lines depict straight hair that falls to their shoulders. Long necks flow down to sloped shoulders. The left figure has a chest that sticks out, while the right figure’s chest follows the curve of the rounded shoulders. Thin horizontal lines fill the outline of the upper body through the neck, with little additional detail. Looking closely, there appears to be additional details around the ears, partially hidden by thin strands of hair. The figure to the left has a darker ear, as if colored in or retraced several times. The right figure has small lines projecting straight out from the entire curve of the ear, possibly representing piercings.

CAPTION: Chinook and Clatsop Indians as drawn in Clark’s journal.

CREDIT: Missouri Historical Society

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IMAGES and TEXT: A “Monstrous Fish”

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Two days after Christmas 1805, Clatsop Indians told the Corps of Discovery that a whale had washed ashore southwest of Fort Clatsop near a Tillamook village (in today’s Cannon Beach). Adverse weather conditions prevented Clark and other members of the Corps from reaching the whale until January 8. (Sacagawea, who insisted on seeing “that monstrous fish” and the ocean, accompanied them.) By then only the whale’s bones remained.

The Tillamook Indians who had gathered much of the whale’s meat and blubber were reluctant to part with any of it, but Clark managed to purchase approximately 300 pounds of blubber and a few gallons of rendered oil. Lewis sampled the blubber and found it “not unlike the fat of Poark tho’ the texture was more spongey and somewhat coarser. I had a part of it cooked and found it very pallitable and tender, it resembled the beaver or the dog in flavour.” Today’s six-mile Tillamook Head Trail from Seaside to Indian Beach in Ecola State Park follows the same coastal route used by Clark and his party.

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IMAGE 1 of 2: Historic Map

IMAGE 1 of 2: Map

DESCRIBING: A color image superimposed to the right of text

SYNOPSIS: Purple-hued pages assembled to form an ink line drawn map of the mouth of the Columbia river and bordering Pacific coastline, occupying the full right half of the text box. Beginning off map to the left, modern black lines and type identify the locations of “Fort Clatsop” and “Whale” south of the Columbia River in present day Oregon. 

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: Approximately five pages of varying size and rectangular shape from William Clark’s journal unite to form a complete map in a blocky shape reminiscent of the upper body of a person standing with their arm to the left raised vertically and their arm to the right stretched out horizontally. Continuing this comparison, the raised arm and head display the Pacific Coast and inland of the Washington side directly north, the torso the Pacific Coast and inland of the Oregon side to the south, and the horizontal arm further east upstream along the Columbia. The line identifying Fort Clatsop points inland from the southern shore of the Columbia toward the center of the upper torso. The line identifying the beached whale points southwest of Fort Clatsop and along the Oregon Pacific Coast toward the lower left edge of the torso. These pages are aged, peppered with blotches of purplish ink and a well-worn and partially ripped horizontal crease across the center, and the far right page is gridded. Wavering ink lines and hatches represent geographical features such as the coastline, streams, and inlets, and seemingly associated indiscernible cursive writing marks the pages.

CAPTION: Clark’s map of the Columbia River and the Pacific coastline shows the locations of the fort and the beached whale.

CREDIT: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University

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IMAGE 2 of 2: Blue whale skeleton

IMAGE 2 of 2: Blue whale skeleton

DESCRIBING: A medium-sized image superimposed beneath text

SYNOPSIS: A cream-colored blue whale skeleton tinted with blotches of rusty reddish-brown stretches from left to right, taking up most of the bottom third of the text box.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: The jagged spine curls to the left and points directly downward. Following the path of the spine to the right, the ribcage bells below, topped with a triangular shoulder blade connecting to a jointed bone fin, horizontal as if pushed back by ocean water in life. As this is a side view, through the ribs, a glimpse of a second fin can be seen. The skull bulges from compressed neck vertebrate, the jaw slightly opened and tapering to a sharp tip to the right. The long skull appears to be over half the length of the spine.

CAPTION: Clark measured the whale’s skeleton and found it to be 105 feet long, most likely making it a blue whale. They average 75 to 80 feet in length and weigh about 110 tons.

CREDIT: New Bedford Whaling Museum

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IMAGE and TEXT: “At this place we had wintered”

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The Corps of Discovery remained at Fort Clatsop from December 7, 1805, until March 23, 1806. During that time, Clatsop and Chinook Indians, whom Clark described as close bargainers, came to the fort almost daily to visit and trade. The captains wrote often in their journals of these tribes’ appearance, habits, living conditions, lodges, and abilities as hunters and fishermen. 

Throughout the winter Lewis and Clark maintained a strict military routine. A sentinel was constantly posted, and at sundown each day the fort was cleared of visitors and the gates locked for the night. Of the 106 days the explorers spent at the fort, it rained every day but 12, and the men suffered from colds, influenza, rheumatism, and other ailments that the captains treated. Clothing rotted, and fleas infested the blankets and hides of the bedding to such a degree that a full night’s sleep was often impossible.

With little food in reserve, hunting for meat was all important. The men killed more than 130 elk, 20 deer, and many small animals, including fowl, during the winter. Whale was later added to their diet. For vegetables the men had to be content with various roots, including the wapato, which resembled a small potato. These root foods were brought by the Indians to the fort for trade.

Due to the rain the men often stayed indoors engaged in a variety of tasks, from servicing their weapons and preparing elkhide clothing for the homeward journey to making elk fat candles as light for journal writing. The captains brought their journals up to date, making copious notes on the plants, fish, and wildlife around Fort Clatsop, and drew excellent sketches. Many such descriptions were the first scientific identification of important flora and fauna of the American West. Clark, the cartographer of the party, spent most of his time refining and updating maps of the country through which they had traveled.

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IMAGE 1 of 1: Fort Clatsop

DESCRIBING: Large color photograph of historic structure

SYNOPSIS: The 1955 to 2005 Fort Clatsop Encampment Replica is featured on the lower third of the brochure

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: In this image you are standing at the propped open entrance gates of two mirroring, one story, log buildings that have a lean two style roof pitch that slants down towards the center where the parade ground lies, creating a wide "v". Visitors would walk under a square timber held by four tall logs that the entrance gates pivot upon. The roof is made from hand split old-growth cedar planks that span 8 to 10 feet long and overlap the bottom course mid-roof with a gable overhang. The buildings consist of full length, debarked, bleached brown fir and spruce logs stacked that are horizontally on top of each other with interlocking notched corners. The log ends are sawn off flush with each other and protrude a foot further than the fort's exterior walls. On the right side of the fort, smoke is billowing from the chimney connected to the Captain's Quarters. This chimney is the only one of its kind, residing next to the parade ground. Although the viewer cannot see the base of the chimney, it stands beside the parade ground and extends upwards with notched, square cedar stacked planks. The other 5 wooden chimney stacks sit atop the highest peak of the roof for each of the sleeping quarters, three on the left and two on the right. At the far end of the parade ground is a centered flagpole, towering above the highest roof line and fading into the text above. A Spring morning sunlight creates brushed hints of vibrant yellows and greens to the surrounding vegetation and gives the structure a suggestive halo. Behind the fort is an evergreen forest, consisting of shaggy hemlock, Douglas fir, and giant spruce trees which fade behind the text above.

CAPTION: This replica of Fort Clatsop was built in 1955 largely from a floor plan with dimensions that William Clark drew on the elkskin cover of one of his journals. The replica was destroyed by fire in October 2005.

CREDIT: Ron Niebrugge


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TEXT: “Excellent, fine, strong & white”

By the time the expedition arrived at the Pacific Coast its supply of salt for preserving and flavoring food was nearly exhausted. To remedy this situation, on December 28 Clark directed three of the men—Joseph Field, William Bratton, and George Gibson—to “proceed to the Ocean [and] at Some Convenient place form a Camp and Commence makeing Salt with 5 of the largest Kittles. . . .” Alexander Willard and Peter Weiser went along to help carry supplies.

The men set up camp about 15 miles southwest of Fort Clatsop “near the houses of some Clatsop and Kilamox [Nehalem] families” in what is now a residential area of Seaside, Ore. Usually at least three men were there, though the number varied and personnel were rotated. Salt was obtained by boiling sea water “day and night” in kettles placed on an oven built of stones and fueled by trees and wood debris along the shore. The men were soon producing about three quarts a day of what Lewis described as “excellent, fine, strong and white” salt. By February 21, 1806, when the camp was abandoned, the salt makers had accumulated enough for the trip home. About three of the approximately four bushels produced at the camp were packed in kegs and used on the homeward journey.

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OVERVIEW: Back Side of Brochure

The back side of this brochure includes scenic photographs, text, and maps. Along the top, three side by side color photographs fade into text below describing the individual sites that make up Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, as well as providing logistical information such as safety messaging and contact details. Below along the right side, an extensive map of the affiliated park sites spreads to the bottom of the page. Along the left side of this map, four inset maps and associated descriptions are stacked one on top of the other to the bottom of the page. These maps and associated descriptions offer closer looks at Washington State Park Cape Disappointment, Fort Clatsop, and Oregon State Parks Fort Stevens and Ecola.

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TEXT: Exploring Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Parks

Welcome to one of America’s newest national parks. The park rings the mouth of the Columbia River and stretches some 40 miles along the rugged Pacific Coast. The Chinook and Clatsop Indians have made this region their home for thousands of years. More recently, during the winter of 1805-06, Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery visited here at the end of their 4,000-mile trek across the newly acquired Louisiana Territory. Now, with the creation of this new national park, you can walk where first Chinook and Clatsop and then Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery walked.

Lewis and Clark National Historical Park is a joint venture between the National Park Service and the states of Oregon and Washington; the park consists of 12 individual areas that mark the success of key parts of the Corps of Discovery’s mission - arriving safely at the Pacific, maintaining friendly relations with local Indian tribes, preparing maps and revising journals that recorded their experiences and discoveries, and preparing for the trip home. Taken together, the following sites embody stories of hardship and danger, of collaboration and adaptation, and of exploration and discovery.


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TEXT: Dismal Nitch

So described by Clark, this is the site of the expedition’s November 10th through 15th, 1805, encampment. It was here in a cove surrounded by cliffs and high hills that a fierce November storm pinned down the expedition for six days and threatened its survival.

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TEXT: Station Camp

Here, during its November 15th through 25th encampment, the Corps of Discovery got its first view of the Pacific Ocean after 18 arduous months of exploring some of North America’s roughest terrain. Here, too, Captains Lewis and Clark polled the members of the Corps of Discovery whether to cross the Columbia River and examine the south side for a winter encampment site. This poll was the first of its kind to include Clark’s slave York and Sacagawea.

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TEXT: Netul Landing

This area of the park provides an opportunity to stroll a paved path along the Lewis and Clark River (originally the Netul River) and enjoy the river atmosphere. During peak summer months Netul Landing serves as the parking lot and regional transit bus arrival point for a visit to reconstructed Fort Clatsop.

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IMAGE and TEXT: Fort to Sea Trail

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This 6.5-mile hiking trail from Fort Clatsop to the Pacific Ocean at Sunset Beach approximates the route members of the Corps of Discovery took when traveling to and from the ocean during the winter of 1805 to1806.

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IMAGE 1 of 1: Hikers

DESCRIBING: Medium color landscape photograph

SYNOPSIS: Two hikers walk through a forest.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: On a path through a dense, green, fern filled forest, two people cross a boardwalk trail and proceed on to a dirt path. A few moss and lichen covered conifers stand sentinel on either side of the path. The trees are so tall, only their trunks are captured in the photo's frame. The ferns appear nearly as large as the two people, who are walking single file, and bundled up with hats, gloves, jackets, and jeans.

CAPTION: Fort to Sea Trail

CREDIT: NPS/Bob Greenburg

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TEXT: Salt Works

Located in the city of Seaside, Oregon, this reconstructed site commemorates the expedition’s salt-making activities.

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TEXT: Cape Disappointment State Park

This marks the farthest point westward reached by Lewis and Clark. 

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TEXT: Fort Columbia State Park

For thousands of years this area was home to the Chinook Indians. Fort Columbia (1896 through1947) is one of the few intact coastal defense sites in the United States. Explore the fort grounds or hike the trails that wind up the hillside through mature stands of spruce and hemlock trees. In summer the park hours are 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; in winter 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. A small parking fee is charged.

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IMAGE and TEXT: Fort Stevens State Park

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For thousands of years the Clatsop Indians lived here on Point Adams, the southern tip of land that marks the entrance to the Columbia River. After this land became part of the United States, the same geography that served the needs of the Clatsop Indians also served the United States military. From the Civil War through the end of World War II, Fort Stevens Military Reservation guarded the mouth of the Columbia River. 

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IMAGE 1 of 1: Shipwreck of the Peter Iredale at Fort Stevens

DESCRIBING: Horizontal color photo.

SYNOPSIS: A skeletal metal frame from a large shipwreck leans slightly to the left as it sits on a sandy beach in the surf. The sun sets directly behind it, casting a bruise purple hue over the scene and creating a black silhouette of the wreck.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: Once a four masted steel barque sailing vessel that was approximately 287 feet long, the Peter Iredale ran ashore in 1906. Today only parts of the bow are left standing. The remnants create ambiguous shapes, pure black against the setting sun. Some silhouettes stand alone to the left, vertical as if sticking out of the sand, and detached from the shipwreck. The Iredale sits in the shallow ocean surf as low waves wash in, covered in white foam tinted lavender from the purple hue cast by the sunset. The sun is near the horizon, and behind the shipwreck it creates a sunburst shape that peers through the metal framework. The thick clouds settle just above the sun, and reflect a deep purple color as the last light creates a strip of soft orange along the horizon over the ocean.

CAPTION: Wreck of the “Peter Iredale” at Fort Stevens

CREDIT: Wayfarer Photography

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TEXT: Sunset Beach Recreation Area

Sunset Beach is the western trailhead for the Fort To Sea Trail. It provides visitors with direct access to the Pacific Ocean, with expansive views of Cape Disapointment to the north and Ecola State Park to the South.

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TEXT: Fort Clatsop

Built on the banks of the Netul River (now the Lewis and Clark River), this was the winter encampment for the Corps of Discovery from December 1805 to March 1806.

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IMAGE and TEXT: Ecola State Park

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In 1806 Captain Clark and 12 expedition members, including Sacagawea, crossed Tillamook Head, which Clark called “the Steepest worst and highest mountain I ever assended,” to see a beached whale south of here in the present town of Cannon Beach. 

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IMAGE 1 of 1: Ecola Beach

DESCRIBING: Medium size color landscape photo.

SYNOPSIS: Vista of a rocky beach awash in sunset colors. Gold, peach, and pink light illuminate dark purple clouds and reflect onto a beach below.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: In the foreground, silhouetted by the evening light, a peninsula projects into the ocean. It curls around a cove and trails off into three monoliths, which are massive rocks carved from the coast by waves and time. Looking south, with the coast on the right and the sea to the left, the rocky coastline sweeps into the distance in a series of peninsulas and trailing monoliths meeting the sea. 

CAPTION: Ecola Beach

CREDIT: Fotosearch

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TEXT: About Your Visit

Start your visit at one of the park’s two main visitor centers: at Fort Clatsop, near Astoria, OR or the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center at Cape Disappointment State Park near Ilwaco, WA. The Fort Clatsop Visitor Center is open year round except December 25. In the peak season (mid-June through Labor Day), park hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; the rest of the year 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. A small admission fee is charged at each visitor center. Park rangers are ready to answer your questions and help plan your visit. Maps, guide books, and other literature are available.

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TEXT: For Your Safety

Stay on designated trails and exercise caution at all times when walking or playing around water features. River banks and cliff slopes are often slippery and unstable. On beaches be aware of sneaker waves or drift wood that can knock people down and wash them into deep water.

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OVERVIEW: More Information

Lewis and Clark National Historical Park is one of over 420 parks in the National Park System. Start your journey and visit www.nps.gov to learn more about parks and National Park Service programs in America’s communities.

Or contact: 

PHONE: 503-861-2471

WEBSITE: www.nps.gov/lewi

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OVERVIEW: Accessibility

Lewis and Clark National Historical park offers wheelchair accessible exhibits and trails surrounding the replica of Fort Clatsop. A braille brochure and tactile map of the park unit is available at the visitors center. We strive to make our facilities, services, and programs accessible to all. For more information about our services, please ask a ranger, call, or check on our website www.nps.gov/lewi.

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MAP: Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Parks

DESCRIBING: A large color map that covers the right half of the brochure width-wise, and the lower 3/4 of the length

Purpose: This map orients visitors to the various sites and parks connected to the Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Parks, located in southern Washington and northern Oregon along the coast and Columbia River.

Synopsis: A large color map of the various sites and parks associated with Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Parks. The top ¼ shows the southern Washington State coast, while the lower ¾ shows the northern Oregon coast. The large Columbia River separates the two states and connects to the Pacific Ocean. Varying accessibility features and amenities are available at each park and site. For detailed information about each park, see inset maps.

In-depth: The map covers an area approximately 32 miles North to South, and 18 miles East to West, with the Pacific Ocean to the west bordering the coastlines. The sites include two Washington State Parks set along the coast and northern bank of the Columbia River, three Oregon State Parks along the northern Oregon coast, and 6 National Park Service sites. Two National Park Sites are in Washington along the southern bank of the Columbia, while the other 4 are in the western part of northern Oregon. Highway 101 comes south a few miles inland from the ocean, and crosses the Columbia River to Astoria, Oregon, and goes southwest towards the Oregon coast and directly south along the coast. Lewis and Clark National Historical Park Fort Clatsop is set near the center of the map.

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Legend and Amenities

The map legend in the bottom right corner of the page shows 15 small black square icons. Each one represents a service, facility, or amenity. These small icons are dotted throughout the map, indicating where you can find these various amenities.


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Highways



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Washington State Parks


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Oregon State Parks

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National Park


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Geographic Features

Synopsis: This map depicts southern Washington and northern Oregon, with the Columbia River flowing between the two states. The Pacific Ocean is directly west of the states, and meets the mouth of the Columbia River. The river width varies due to the jagged river bank, but is typically 4-6 miles north to south. There are several bays, and many tributary rivers and streams in Washington and Oregon. The primary geologic feature in southern Washington is Bear River Ridge, which runs southwest approximately 10 miles inland. In northern Oregon, there are several ridges and peaks approximately 5 miles inland that cover the area from north to south. These include Lone Ridge, Eels Ridge, Twin Peaks, Davis Mountain, and Saddle Mountain.


In-Depth: 

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Side Roads


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MAP INSETS

Four inset map details vertically line the left of this brochure's back side. From top to bottom, they are: Cape Disappointment State Park, Fort Stevens State Park, Fort Clatsop, and Ecola State Park.

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MAP and TEXT: Cape Disappointment State Park

DESCRIBING: A medium rectangular inset map of Cape Disappointment State Park.

SYNOPSIS: This map orientates visitors to Cape Disappointment State Park and the directly surrounding section of the extreme southwestern Washington Pacific Coast. This state park occupies the majority of a peninsula jutting into the Pacific Ocean and forming the northern edge of the mouth of the Columbia River. The peninsula is shaped vaguely like an upside-down mitten, with the tip of the fingers forming the actual Cape Disappointment pointing downward slightly south southwest and the thumb folded back to the right, pointing east southeast. The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center is halfway down the thumb on the southern edge and offers the primary park services, including wheelchair-accessible facilities.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: This inset map is the topmost of the four inset maps along the left side of the larger area map, and it adopts legend symbols from the larger map. A table represents a mile as around an inch and a kilometer slightly less, defining the mapped area as roughly four miles from west-to-east and three and a half miles from north-to-south. Along with wheelchair accessible services, the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center contains a visitor center ranger station, a picnic area, and hiking trails. A black dashed line representing a hiking trail leads to a Coast Guard Station on the northern edge of the thumb and Cape Disappointment Lighthouse on the southern edge, as well as continuing northwest toward the northern bulk of the park. A thick red line representing the primary park road heads north of the interpretive center, belling into an oblong loop in the northern portion of the park. White black-rimmed lines break off and cross to other areas of interest, such as Waikiki Beach to the south at the intersection of the mitten thumb and fingers and a campground along the Pacific Coast side of peninsula. A hiking trail diagonally crosses the peninsula, beginning at Mackenzie Head in the center, continuing north and turning northwest after passing Clark Party Campsite, and ending at North Head Lighthouse on the Pacific Coast, north of the campground. The northern boundary continues along the Pacific Coast, and the Discovery Trail enters the park from the town of Ilwaco to the east, meets the Pacific Coast and turns north at Beard’s Hollow, and continues north off map toward the town of Long Beach. Another trail curls to east of the park road and meets up with a boat launch. West of the park road from this trail and boat launch are two lakes, one labeled O’Neil Lake.

On the southeastern edge of the park road loop, The Anchorage is noted, and on the northwestern edge, an overlook is pointed out. The park road loop links with major thoroughfare 101 in the northeastern edge, continuing to the towns of Ilwaco and Astoria off map. Ilwaco is home to the Ilwaco Heritage Museum and the Port of Ilwaco, which borders Baker Bay to the south. Yellow Bluff is further along the northern shore of the Columbia to the east of Ilwaco, with a canoe access area further east. Sand Island sits south of Baker Bay off the tip of the peninsula’s thumb.


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Cape Disappointment (formerly Fort Canby State Park) is a 1,882-acre camping park on the Long Beach Peninsula, fronted by the Pacific Ocean. The park offers 27 miles of ocean beach, one of the oldest functioning lighthouses on the West Coast, hiking trails, and remnants of Civil War-era Fort Canby. Visitors enjoy beachcombing and exploring the area’s rich natural and cultural history. The nearby coastal towns of Ilwaco and Long Beach feature special events and festivals, spring through fall. 

Perched on a cliff overlooking the mouth of the Columbia River, the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center contains exhibits offering an overview of the Corps of Discovery's entire journey from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean. Primary focus of the exhibits is on the expedition’s discoveries and experiences along the Columbia River, with special attention given to the Corps’ arrival at the mouth of the Columbia and the overland journey to the Pacific Ocean. The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center is open year round. For specific seasonal operating hours please call the park office at 360-642-3078.

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MAP and TEXT: Fort Stevens State Park

DESCRIBING: Medium-sized detailed inset map

SYNOPSIS: This inset map details wayfinding in the Fort Stevens State Park area. The area depicted is just over 6 miles east-west and 6 miles north-south. The park itself lies west of Ridge Road and, is roughly 1.5 miles wide east-west and 5 miles long running north west to south east. The Fort Stevens area is on the south, Oregon side of the Columbia River. A spit of land juts north into the Columbia, like a curled finger. Fort Stevens State Park is bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the left or west. The town of Warrenton is south of the park, and the town of Hammond borders the park to the east. Boat ramps and restrooms can be found in Hammond and Warrenton. Bike path connects Hammond and Warrenton.

Visitor Facilities, including wheelchair accessible trails and attractions like the museum, batteries, and Clatsop plankhouse, can be found at the historic area directly west of the town of Hammond, which is north west of Highway 101. Check in at the visitor service station for detailed trail maps and accessibility information.

IN DEPTH DESCRIPTION:

This inset map is the second from the top of the four inset maps along the left side of the larger area map, and it adopts legend symbols from the larger map. Visitors to Fort Stevens State Park will find three different entrances from Ridge Road, each leading to a different attraction.

• Beginning at the town of Hammond, turn west and drive just under a mile to visit the Historic Area and its accessible trails, picnic area, fishing area, bike path, and attractions like the Museum, Batteries, and Clatsop Plankhouse. From this area a trail leads west to a Wildlife Viewing deck and Swash Lake. The trail connects in two places to the main park road that runs north west out to Clatsop Spit. The trail can also be followed east, back towards the town of Hammond.

• Another entrance can be found off Ridge Road about mile south from Hammond. Turn west into the park here to find the main park road. This park road runs northwest to the end of Clatsop Spit, a peninsula of the park juts out into the Columbia River and Pacific Ocean like a big curled finger. Approximately four miles up the road, a short detour (a quarter mile one way) leads to Observation Point, a lookout onto the Pacific Ocean. Continuing back on the main road, the road curls east, to the right, onto the end of Clatsop Spit. The road forks one last time here. Continue east to a Wildlife Viewing Bunker or turn north for Columbia River beach access. This is the end of the road.

• The Campground Entrance is the most southerly entrance to Fort Stevens State Park, and can be found off Ridge Road, just over a mile south from Hammond. Turn west here to enter the park. After just under a mile, a large campground can be found to the north. From this campground area, a road heads south for three quarters of a mile to reach Coffenbury Lake. Continuing west the road forks again. Stay west for another quarter mile to reach the Wreck of "Peter Iredale" along the Pacific Ocean. Turn north to join with the main park road. The Columbia Beach trail runs northwest along the coast. The trail connects the Wreck of the Peter Iredale site to the main park road to Clatsop Spit. Another trailhead begins from the campground and heads west to meet the Columbia Beach trail. At the northernmost end of the Columbia Beach trail, a crosswalk connects the Historic Area and Wildlife Viewing Deck trails.


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Camping, beachcombing, freshwater lake swimming, trails, wildlife viewing, boat ramps for fishing and canoeing, an historic shipwreck, and an historic military area make Fort Stevens a fascinating park to visit. A network of nine miles of bicycle trails and six miles of hiking trails allow you to explore the park through spruce and hemlock forests, wetlands, dunes, and shore pine. Throughout the year, you can browse through displays dating back to the Civil War at the museum, visit the only enclosed Civil War earthworks site on the West Coast, and explore World War II gun batteries.

The historic area (open daily, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; closed Thanksgiving, December 25, and January 1) features a military museum and gift shop, guided tours, interpretive displays, movies, living history demonstrations, and a replica of a Clatsop Indian plankhouse (to the west of the World War II barracks). For a detailed tour of the park ask for the Fort Stevens Trail Guide and Historic Military Site at the military museum and gift shop. Call 503-861-1671 or 800-551-6949 for more information.

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MAP and TEXT: Fort Clatsop

DESCRIBING: A medium-sized rectangular inset map of Fort Clatsop

SYNOPSIS: This detailed close up view orientates visitors to the structures, amenities, and trailheads of the Fort Clatsop area. Fort Clatsop is directly west of the Lewis and Clark River, which meets the Columbia River a few miles north, across Youngs Bay from the town of Astoria, and approximately six miles east of the Pacific Coast in present day Oregon. The visitor center is just right of the center of the map at the end of a short spur road heading south of Fort Clatsop Road and offers several services, including wheelchair accessible facilities. Further southwest along Fort Clatsop Road from the intersection of the spur is a parking area to the west with a wheelchair accessible facility.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: This inset map is the third from the top of the four inset maps along the left side of the larger area map, and it adopts legend symbols from the larger map. Fort Clatsop road snakes across the map from the north, sloping to the west, and turning back south, forming a vertical Bell curve. A short spur breaks away approximately 0.1 miles from where Fort Clatsop road enters the map to the north, dropping directly south, scooping past an overflow parking lot to the west, and dead ending at the primary parking lot and visitor center. The amenities of this area include a visitor center/ranger station, picnic area, hiking trail, self guiding trail, audio trail, and wheelchair accessibility. A less than a mile long trail system forms a rough figure eight, the larger lower southwestern loop connecting the visitor center to the fort exhibit and the primary parking lot and the smaller upper northeastern loop connecting the fort exhibit to a freshwater spring. A spur trail connects the western edge of the primary parking lot to the Fort to Sea Trail. A second spur trail drops south of the fort exhibit and also intersects with the Fort to Sea Trail. More detailed trail information can be obtained from the visitor center.

At the furthest western curve of Fort Clatsop road, a turnoff leads to a parking lot containing a trailhead for the Fort to Sea Trail. This trail leads directly west from here to the Pacific Coast off map and directly north toward the northwest corner of the map, twisting east and then southeast, following a wavering diagonal path south of the Fort Clatsop area. This trail continues off the south edge of the map, meeting the Lewis and Clark River at Lewis and Clark’s Historic Canoe Landing and turning southwest across a small stream toward Netul Landing.


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Here you will find a replica of Fort Clatsop, as well as living history programs, ranger led programs, an exhibit hall, orientation films, a bookstore featuring books for all ages, American Indian crafts, and much more. You will also find the trailheads for the Fort to Sea Trail and the Netul River Trail.

The Fort to Sea Trail is 6.5 miles long and runs from the visitor center at Fort Clatsop to Sunset Beach on the Pacific Ocean. Lewis and Clark constantly kept parties in the field hunting, gathering food, making salt, and trading with the Indians. This trail lets you explore the forests, travel along the coastal rivers and lakes, and cross the coastal dunes much like the Corps of Discovery. The trail runs through the homeland of the Clatsop Indians, one of the tribes that helped ensure the survival of the Corps. The Netul River Trail is a shorter trail, only 1.5-miles long, that follows the river from Fort Clatsop to Netul Landing. The landing features a kayak/canoe launch that is part of the Lower Columbia River Water Trail, and a life-sized statue of Sacagawea and her son. Call 503-861-2471 for more information.

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MAP and TEXT: Ecola State Park

DESCRIBING: A medium-sized rectangular inset map of Ecola State Park. 

SYNOPSIS: Ecola beach stretches 9 miles along Oregon's coastline from Seaside in the North to Cannon Beach to the South. This map covers an area of the park that is 3 1/2 miles North to South, from crescent beach to Tillamook head overlook. The road enters from the South at the bottom of the map moving North and ends about halfway up the map at Indian Beach. A trail runs along the spine of the park close to the coastline. Although there is no ranger station or visitor center, restrooms and parking are located at Ecola point and Indian beach.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: This inset map is the bottom most of the four inset maps along the left side of the larger area map, and it adopts legend symbols from the larger map. A table at the bottom of the map represents a mile as around an inch and a kilometer slightly less. This rectangular map depicts roughly 3 miles east to west and 3 1/2 miles north to south. A section of the 9 mile long park wraps its way along the wavy coastline to the South near Crescent beach and Tillamook head to the North. Visitors can access this park road from Cannon beach, which is the most southern end of the park. After about a mile, visitors can turn westward for less than 0.3 miles and arrive at Ecola Point. Parking, restrooms, and a picnic area are available here. A hiking trail winds its way to a group picnic area at Ecola Point about 0.3 miles from the parking lot. Continuing North on the park road, after roughly a mile, the road crosses Canyon Creek and ends at Indian Beach and restrooms and a picnic area can be found here. On the most southern part of this map, the park road curves its way North with hiking trails to the west in parallel. From Indian beach, the trail splits into two. One takes the more coastal scenic route to the first overlook and rejoins to the second trail at a hiker cabin. An overlook that shows a view of the Tillamook head rock is on a 0.3 mile trail West of Hiker cabin. Continuing North for 0.5 mile is the last overlook.

Moving from south to North the coastal features include Crescent Beach, Ecola Point, Sea Lion Rock, Bald Point, Submarine Rock, Indian Beach, Indian Point, Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, Bird Point, and Tillamook Head. Offshore islands and rocks are part of Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge including, Sea Lion Rock, Submarine Rock, and Tillamook Head.


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Wrapping around Tillamook Head between Seaside and Cannon Beach, Ecola State Park is a hiking and sightseers magnet. Trails with cliffside viewpoints along nine miles of Pacific Ocean shoreline overlook picture-postcard seascapes, cozy coves, densely forested promontories and even a long-abandoned offshore lighthouse. Swimmers can enjoy two spacious, sandy beaches—Crescent Beach and Indian Beach. Surfers can ride the waves at Indian Beach, where caves and tide pools await discovery. Keep a watchful eye for the many species of wildlife and birds that call Ecola home. During the winter and spring, migrating gray whales may be seen from one of the promontories overlooking the ocean. Those interested in finding the 1806 beached whale site will experience none of the hardship that confronted Captain Clark and his party: a paved road from Cannon Beach and a trail network make the trek much easier.

Ecola State Park offers year-round recreation for all types of modern day explorers. Call 503-436-2844 or 800-551-6949 for information.

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