Home » 2013 Pacific Northwest

Fort Stevens State Park, OR

Thursday, September 19, 2013 - 7:30pm by Lolo
182 miles and 4 hours from our last stop - 1 night stay


Wreck of the Peter IredaleWreck of the Peter IredaleOur chosen destination for the evening was Fort Stevens State Park, the northernmost of the State Parks along the Oregon Coast. Unfortunately, our stops at Oregon Dunes and Heceta Lighthouse had pushed our arrival back a bit more than planned, so we barely had time to see the park before sunset.

We went first to the Wreck of the Peter Iredale, the remains of an old steel sailing vessel that ran ashore in 1906 en route to the Columbia River. Since it was low tide, the wreck was completely stranded on the beach.

Even more interesting than the shipwreck, was a wreck of a different sort in the parking lot, in the form of a truck converted into what I guess you could call an RV. It made Cousin Eddie’s RV in Christmas Vacation look like a Prevost. It was totally painted over with Peace signs, and the words Love and JESUS in bubble letters across its entire length.

Fort Stevens State Park RVFort Stevens State Park RVWe soon met its occupants, a very happy, but a bit dazed fellow that looked like he was still in the 60s, and his dog. Every time the dog walked away from the RV, its owner would yell, “Hey, get back up” and the dog would obediently jump up on the front bumper and pose like a hood ornament. This bizarre interaction between dog and owner went on and on at least 4 times while we were there.

We toyed with the idea of staying at this lovely beach to watch the sunset, but decided to try to get to the Observation Deck near the mouth of the Columbia River in time. I am glad we did. Not only because we were getting a little tired of the dog and hippy show, but because the observation deck provided a unique view of the Columbia River meeting the sea.

By the time we got back to our campsite, it was already quite dark, but at least we did get a chance to see a bit of the park.

Sunset from Columbia River Observation DeckSunset from Columbia River Observation DeckThe next morning I was very excited, because today we would see Tommy for the first time in 2 ½ months, the longest we have ever been apart.

We got on the road fairly early and made a quick stop at the nearby Astoria Column, a rather unique structure patterned after Trajan’s Column in Rome. Similar to the murals that spiral up the Roman column, this one’s exterior wall depicts the history of the area. Just as we pulled into the parking lot, several school buses unloaded dozens of children, who began to run noisily towards the column. Oh boy, we better hurry. We beat them to it, and were able to climb up to the top of the column, take photos of the wonderful view of the Columbia River, and get down just as they were starting up.

Now, no more stopping, but onto Seattle and Tommy!!


Top of Astoria ColumnTop of Astoria ColumnFort Stevens, the northernmost park along the Oregon coastline, is located 10 miles west of Astoria at the mouth of the Columbia River. The Fort was in service for 84 years, from the Civil War through the end of World War today. Today its 4,200-acres of forests, wetlands, and beaches offers exploration of history, nature, and recreational opportunities, including:

• 9 miles of biking trails
• 6 miles of hiking trails,
• Fishing
• Kayaking
• Wildlife viewing
• Sandy beaches for ocean swimming
• Freshwater swimming in Coffenbury Lake
• An historic military fort
• An historic shipwreck, the Peter Iredale

There is also a campground with 476 sites, 15 yurts, and 11 deluxe cabins.

Fort Stevens State Park location map in "high definition"

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