Ilwaco, Washington 98624

The port community of Ilwaco, Washington, on the Columbia River was named for a local Indian chief, ‘Elowahka Jim.’  Established as a town in 1876, Ilwaco soon became a favorite port of salmon fishermen and a transportation hub for all of Pacific County.

Travelers from Oregon or inland Washington could take a steamer down the Columbia River to Ilwaco, where they could travel by stage, and later by the Ilwaco Railway and Navigation Company train, also known as the ‘Clamshell Railroad That Ran With The Tides’, to the ocean beach resorts on the Long Beach Peninsula.  They could also travel to Oysterville,  or Nahcotta,  by stage and train, connecting with a passenger steamer to cross Willapa Bay to Raymond or South Bend.

The town now features a busy marina, a thriving art community, and some of the finest salmon and sturgeon fishing in the country.  Home to two lighthouses, the southern end of Discovery Trail, and the Lewis and Clark National & State Historical Park, Ilwaco provides delights for both locals and visitors.

Installations at the park feature the work of Maya Lin, artist/architect known for the Vietnam Wall, and the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center showcases the arrival of the Corps of Discovery Expedition at the Pacific Ocean.   Trails throughout the park offer adventures for all ability levels.

The Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum brings to life the history of Chinookan and Euro-American settlers as well as that of the Clamshell Railroad, which ran from Ilwaco to Nahcotta from 1880 to 1930.

Grays Harbor College opened its Columbia Education Center in 2006.

Ilwaco has developed a number of outstanding festivals and events. Art walks sponsored by the area’s many art galleries, an annual cranberry festival, antique shops, a Saturday fresh air farmer’s market during the summer, a Slow Drag, Fishing Derbies from the all-kids Black Lake Fishing Derby to the Oregon Tuna Classic, which fishes for food banks (and great prizes!), Tall Ships, Blessing of the Fleet, Old Fashioned 4th of July Fireworks, ‘Ocian in View’ Lewis & Clark Speaker Series, Clamshell Railroad Days, Blues & Seafood and the increasingly well-known Crab Pot Christmas Tree celebration.




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