One of the most intact historic coastal defense sites in the United States, Fort Columbia is situated atop Chinook Point and was built between 1896 and 1903. It was finally decommissioned in 1947. Today, this former military installation is a 618-acre state park that makes up part of the Lewis & Clark National and State Historical Park.
Although considered an early 20th-century site, the land upon which Fort Columbia sits history goes back much further. When Meriwether Lewis and William Clark passed through here on January 9th, 1806, a Chinook village under the command of Chief Concomly was located here. The expedition met with the natives, who were on their way to trade for whale blubber and oil.
Fort Columbia Historical State Park features a self-guided interpretive walk that details the area’s history, and visitors will find informational exhibits near the fort’s gun batteries. The park itself is open from 6:30 AM to dusk year-round. The site boasts 2.5 miles of hiking trails, plentiful bird watching, and wildlife viewing opportunities, and an interpretive center. A pass is required to enter the park.
The Fort Columbia Interpretive Center is only open during the summer season from 11 AM to 3 PM July 1 through September 5. Here, visitors will find exhibits focusing on the history of Fort Columbia, including the area’s early exploration, fur trade, and western settlement.
For more information on the park or to download a park brochure, visit their website at Fort Columbia Historical State Park.