Baker Bay is a bay located just inside the mouth of the Columbia River, behind Cape Disappointment on the north side of the river, in Pacific County, Washington and Clatsop County, Oregon. Visitors can access or view Baker Bay from a variety of locations. The town of Ilwaco, Washington, is located inside the bay, as are Chinook Point and Cape Disappointment State Park.
Visitors might be surprising to learn that Meriwether Lewis and William Clark weren’t the first American settlers to explore the Columbia River. In 1792, over a decade before the Corps of Discovery set out, a small crew under the command of Lieutenant William Broughton sailed up the Columbia River up to what would become modern-day Vancouver aboard “The Chatham,” while the expedition’s leader, Captain George Vancouver, remained at sea on the main ship. It was Broughton who gave Baker Bay its moniker, naming it after a British merchant, Captain James Baker, whose ship happened to be anchored just inside the Columbia’s mouth when Broughton passed through.
Years later, on November 15, 1805, Baker Bay, would receive a new name. Lewis and Clark had just rounded “Point Distress” and established Station Camp on the sandy shore of the bay. They chose to call it Haley’s Bay in honor of a European trader that the local natives said to be their favorite. Clark mentions this in his journal, saying: “This Bay we call Haleys bay from a favourate Trader with the Indians which they Say comes into this Bay and trades with them.”