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Route 1: Lewis & Clark Trail and the Pacific Ocean

Itinerary 1:
Day 1: Vancouver
Day 2: Columbia River Gorge (100 miles roundtrip)
Day 3: Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument (200 miles roundtrip)
Day 4: Lewis & Clark Trail and the Pacific Ocean (250 miles roundtrip)

Day 4 Pacific Ocean:

The ocean is only a 90-mile drive from Vancouver. Visitors will find pristine beaches and spectacular scenery on the Pacific Coast.
History buffs will appreciate the Lewis & Clark attractions and stories told along this drive. Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge & Cathlapotle Plankhouse: A full-scale replica of a Chinookan-style cedar plankhouse at the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, home to many species of spring and fall migrating birds.

The Lewis & Clark expedition stopped here in November 1805 and again in March 1806 to trade with the Native American’s.

Julia Butler Hansen Refuge for White-Tailed Deer

Viewing platforms allow you to see deer and elk species first described for science by Lewis & Clark. From I-5, take the Longview exit. Proceed west on Highway 4 to Cathlamet, WA. Continue on Highway 4 approximately 1 mile past Cathlamet to Steamboat Slough Road which is just west of the Elochoman River bridge. Turn left on Steamboat Slough Road. Refuge Headquarters is approximately 1/4 mile farther, on the right.

Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center at Cape Disappointment

Exhibits focus on the history of Lewis & Clark’s experience at the mouth of the Columbia River and include an award-winning film, “Dreams and Discovery: Lewis & Clark’s Arrival to the Pacific.” Take a leisurely walk along Discovery Trail which includes a boardwalk along the Pacific Ocean. This spectacular trail traces the path William Clark and a party of his men carved across Cape Disappointment and along the Pacific Coast in November 1805. Interpretive displays along the way include a 20-foot bronze tree, recreating the tree William Clark marked his name in four miles up the beach from Beard’s Hollow, and a full skeleton of a gray whale, commemorating William Clark’s observation of March 19, 1805, of which he noted, “I saw…several joints of a backbone of a whale which must have foundered on this part of the coast.”

Location: At Cape Disappointment State Park, two miles southwest of Ilwaco.
Driving directions: Located off U.S. Highway 101, four miles southwest of Ilwaco at the foot of the Long Beach Peninsula.

Long Beach

Spend a few hours exploring the boutique shops and museums. With the variety of restaurants available, this would make a good location for lunch on your own. Recommended must sees in this area include:
International Kite Museum, Marshall’s Free Museum, Cranberry Museum and the historic town of Oysterville.

Back to Vancouver, Washington

Return and overnight in Vancouver, Washington.

The Pacific ocean is only a 90-mile drive from Vancouver
The Pacific ocean is only a 90-mile drive from Vancouver



GPS Coordinates

1 -- Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge - Carty Unit
Decimal Lat: 45.830230 / Lon: -122.747360

2 -- Julia Butler Hansen Refuge
Decimal Lat: 46.231546 / Lon: -123.394897

3 -- Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center
Decimal Lat: 46.278683 / Lon: -124.052854

4 --
Decimal Lat: 46.352336 / Lon: -124.05439


Document Information
Source: Washington State Tourism; US Forest Service; magazineUSA.com
Last modified: 20080822
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