The Astoria Riverwalk, also known as the Astoria River Trail, stretches along part of the Astoria & Columbia River Railroad, providing a lively, nonmotorized tour of the city's waterfront. Along the way, you'll find museums, restaurants, breweries, and interpretive kiosks, as well as a 1913 trolley (open March–December) that offers a historical narrative of the area, home to the one of the oldest European American settlements in the West. The shore is also an important site where 20,000 birds may gather each year during fall migration.
The Astoria & Columbia River Railroad completed laying its tracks in the area in 1898, later to be acquired by the Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railway. The railway became popular with weekend tourists heading to the coast. The timber industry kept it running into the early 1990s, and the city's waterfront revitalization effort opened the first trail section in 1995.
You can access the trail almost anywhere along its length, or begin at the western trailhead at the Port of Astoria, home to hundreds of ships. The route takes you under the 4.1-mile Astoria-Megler Bridge, the longest continuous three-span through-truss bridge in North America. Here, you can take in stunning river views, as well as the Maritime Memorial, which pays tribute to the area's seafaring history and locals lost at sea. Beware! The Columbia is as dangerous to ships as it is beautiful to the eye. Since 1846, bar pilots have leapt from tugs (and in modern times, also helicopters) onto ships to guide them across the river’s treacherous shifting sandbars at this "Graveyard of the Pacific."
As you make your way east, you'll come to a loading point for these famous pilots. You can also visit a number of nearby shipwrecks; learn more at the world-class Columbia River Maritime Museum at 17th Street. As you continue your journey, you'll pass a chorus of barking sea lions lounging underneath the trestles and basking on the docks at 36th Street. The trail ends at the lagoons near Tongue Point.
To get to Astoria, take US 30 west or US 101 north. To reach the Port of Astoria, from US 101, after crossing the bridge, go 0.5 mile on Marine Drive. Or, from US 30, after crossing the John Day River, continue on US 30 for 6.9 miles. Turn north onto Portway Street, and take the second left onto Gateway Avenue. Parking can be found at the Maritime Memorial (200 W. Marine Drive) adjacent to the Astoria-Megler Bridge, as well as at the museum and along most streets parallel to the trail.
You'll find a gravel lot at the east end of the trail on Lagoon Road. From US 30, turn north onto 45th Street. After 0.2 mile, turn right onto Cedar Street. After 0.5 mile, turn left onto 51st Street. and make an immediate right onto Birch Street, which turns left and becomes 53rd Street and then turns right to become Alder Street. Alder Street turns into Lagoon Road, and in less than 0.5 mile after turning onto Birch Street, you will see the gravel lot on your left.