Discovery Trail was surfaced with compacted gravel from the Beard’s Hollow parking lot to SR100 loop in June, 2009. State Parks requested this section not be paved because it is steep and will be slippery in the wet season. This being done, Discovery Trail is now fully surfaced in Ilwaco, all the way to 4th & Main. From there, the surface streets and sidewalks take one on to the Port and Condor Sculpture.
The Ilwaco section of the trail is markedly different from the beach trail. Here you go through forest groves and enjoy some wonderful view spots, including an overlook of Ford’s Dry Lake/Holman Lake that is expansive and unique.
In honor of the commemoration of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the combined vision and hard work of a consortium of cities & public agencies has been involved in construction of Discovery Trail since Fall, 2002. The cities of Long Beach and Ilwaco, with the Washington State Parks & Recreation Commission, have used assistance from the Washington State National Guard, Air Guard and the Oregon National Guard to complete the trail, which stretches 8.5 miles from Ilwaco to North Long Beach.
Bridge crossings include a side slope bridge at the west end of Main Street in Ilwaco, a 250 ft. wetland crossing bridge at Beard’s Hollow and a 40 ft. stringer bridge at the Beard’s Hollow Outfall. The Beard’s Hollow day use area in Cape Disappointment State Park allows the public to park and walk to the beach or toward Ilwaco.
The Trail segment in Long Beach includes monuments which evoke the experiences of Corps members as they explored the coast. One is the 9 ft. etched Basalt Monolith north of Bolstad Avenue, a Gray Whale skeleton at the south end of the Boardwalk, and Clark’s Tree, a 19-foot bronze sculpture noting the most NW point the Corps reached on their journey. Look for the bronze marker of Captain Clark with a sturgeon, interpretive displays along the Long Beach Boardwalk, and a variety of metal sculptures, including bicycle racks shaped like fish and dancing dogs with litter bags.
Watch a slideshow of the Trail Dedication Walk with Lewis, Clark and the Corps of Discovery (even Seaman!).
The Lewis and Clark Expedition documented three whales during their 1805-1806 arrival and wintering on the Pacific Ocean. The whale skeleton commemorates William Clark’s observation on 19th March 1805, near present day Long Beach. “I saw…Several joints of the backbone of a whale which must have foundered on this part of the coast”
In May of 2000, a 38-foot long juvenile male Gray Whale beached and died about one mile north of the skeleton placement shown here. A decomposing whale will create an overwhelming smell, so the whale was buried on the beach.
The City of Long Beach received permission for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to display the skeleton. In March of 2002, students, city employees and biologists located and carefully excavated the skeleton. The bones were cleaned and preserved. In April of 2003, the bones were reassembled into the skeleton shown here.
Bronze sculptures of Captain William Clark and a 10-foot-long sturgeon.
“I proceeded on the Sandy Coast 4 miles, and marked my name on a Small pine, the Day of the month & year, and returned to the foot of the hill, from which place I intended to Strike across to The Bay, I saw a Sturgeon which had been thrown on Shore and left by the tide 10 feet in length…” ~ William Clark
Created by sculptor Jim Demetro from Battle Ground, Washington, the bronze sculptures can be found on Discovery Trail in Long Beach.
Rising more than 20 feet above the dunes, “Clark’s Tree” is a bronze sculpture created by Utah sculptor Stanley Wanlass. Commemorating the carving Clark made in a pine tree Nov. 19, 1805, Clark’s Tree bears the inscription: “William Clark. Nov. 19, 1805. By land from the U. States.” Read the full story of the tree’s journey to Long Beach. Take a look at the tree through the Tree Cam.
Carved into this pillar of basalt are quotations commemorating the most northwesterly point reached by the Corps of Discovery. The monolith can be found just off the Bolstad beach approach in Long Beach.