Fort Clatsop is the location of the second winter encampment of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the first expedition to the U.S. Pacific coast between 1804 to 1806.
The Lewis and Clark expedition included 33 people and followed the Missouri River westward. Fort Clatsop, the expedition's final stop, is located near the mouth of the Columbia River in Oregon.
The fort is named after the local Clatsop tribe of Native Americans; the site was selected by Captain Lewis. The Fort's construction began in December 1805 and took 14 days to build. The expedition's journals are vague about the fort's layout yet it is known that the stockade was a cramped wooden structure. The winter of 1805-1806 was harsh - the fort was opened to trading for only 24 days throughout the entire winter even though they remained at the site for three months. The expedition left the site on March 23 1806 for their trip back home along the Missouri River.
The expedition's members found the Pacific Northwest winter to be damp and cold. Out of the total 106 days that the camp was occupied by the team, there was rain for 94 days. The team suffered from colds, influenza, rheumatism, and other health problems that the captains treated. Their clothing rotted, and fleas infested the blankets and hides to the point that a getting full night’s sleep was rare.
The captains wrote in their journals about day-to-day life, living conditions, about the Clatsop and Chinook Indian tribes' appearance, lifestyles, and abilities as fishermen and hunters.
The original fort structure decayed in the wet climate yet a replica was built during 1955 based on floor plans drawn by Captain William Clark. The National Parks Service operates the site.
A fire in 2005, believed to have started in an open hearth, destroyed the 1955 replica. The absence of the replica provided an opportunity to excavate the site and then to build an updated replica using information that was not available during the 1955 replica's construction.
Hours of Operation:
Peak Season (June 13-September 6): Daily 9 a.m.-6 p.m
Off Peak Season (September 7-June 12): Daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m
Parking can be limited, particularly during the peak time of the day. Avoid parking problems by riding the Lewis and Clark Explorer Shuttle from Astoria, Warrenton or Fort Stevens Campground.
* From Astoria head south on Hwy 101
* From Seaside head north on Hwy 101
* From Hwy 101 follow the signs to Fort Clatsop