PLAY: Parks & Ports

Fort Columbia State Park

Fort ColumbiaDay use, picnicking, beach access, hiking trails, interpretive facility and vacation rentals.  From a variety of viewpoints along the trails on Scarborough Hill you can see breathtaking views of Astoria, Cape Disappointment, Baker’s Bay, and Fort Stevens. Fort Columbia State Park is located at Chinook Point National Historic Landmark. This area was home to the Chinook Indians and their famed Chief Comcomly. It was also the site of where Robert Gray anchored his ship in 1788 when he was credited with discovery of the Columbia River. Lewis and Clark traveled over this hill in 1806 on their way to the Pacific Ocean. It is adjacent to the Corps of Discovery site known as “Station Camp”.

Fort Columbia at a Glance

Fort Columbia is one of the few remaining intact coastal defense sites in the United States. It was built between 1896 and 1904 to support the harbor of the Columbia River. The fort was constructed on the Chinook Point promontory because of the unobstructed view. Fort Columbia was declared surplus at the end of World War II and was transferred to the custody of the state of Washington in 1950. Since then it has been a state park. Twelve historic wood-frame buildings and four gun batteries still stand on the premises.

History
Washington State Parks has released a 2-part video telling the story of Fort Columbia.  Watch Fort Columbia: Guardian of the Great River, part 1 and part 2.

Hiking Trails

Hikers of all abilities will enjoy meandering the roads and paths of the Fort, viewing gun emplacements, batteries, historic buildings and viewpoints. The Fort Columbia Interpretive Center and Commanding Officer’s Historic Home are open in the summer. Visitors can unwind while picnicking on the rolling green lawn among flowering shrubs and shade trees. Those with adventurous minds can almost see soldiers waiting for an enemy attack which (thankfully) never arrived. During the Cold War, Battery 246 was set up as an operations center for the governor and other high ranking state officials in the event of nuclear war. We hope you enjoy touring the Fort and learning about its’ rich history.

Experienced hikers can enjoy some of the best hiking in the region. The Scarborough Trail begins at the west parking area and winds steeply through dense forest to a summit elevation of 767 feet in just 1.2 miles. Chances are, you won’t encounter anyone else on the trail while you’re making this hike and taking in some of the most stunning views of the area. Continue from the summit, winding down the mile-long Military Road trail back to the fort. The 600-foot Military Spur connects the two trails for those who don’t wish to go all the way to the summit.

If the steep hike is more than you have time (or inclination) for, enjoy the Concomly, or ‘Loop’ Trail that runs between the parking area and Military Road within the Fort. This 1.5-mile trail takes hikers through dense coastal forest where you can observe a variety of local plants and wildlife.

Visitor Facilities:

  • Two vacation houses are available for rent year-round.
  • 25 unsheltered picnic tables
  • The park offers an interpretive trail with information on various fort features.
  • Fort Columbia Interpretive Center, open from Memorial Day- September, 10-5. The museum focuses on the history of Chinook Point including Chinookan culture, exploration and fur trade, early settlement, and military.
  • Commanding Officer’s Historic House Museum allows visitors to see how a Commanding Officer and his family lived from 1900-1910. The Historic House Park is open year-round from 8 a.m. until dusk.

Commonly Noted Flora & Fauna:

  • Crows or Ravens
  • Doves or Pigeons
  • Eagles
  • Gulls
  • Hawks
  • Herons
  • Hummingbirds
  • Ospreys
  • Owls
  • Woodpeckers
  • Wrens
  • Sea Birds
  • Bears
  • Chipmunks
  • Coyotes
  • Deer or Elk
  • Rabbits
  • Raccoons
  • Squirrels
  • Salmon
  • Sturgeon
  • Douglas Fir
  • Hemlock
  • Spruce
  • Alder
  • Maple
  • Daisy
  • Foxglove
  • Rhododendron
  • Rose
  • Ferns
  • Moss or Lichens

More Info:

Open year-round, dawn to dusk

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