About this Itinerary
Astoria, Oregon, sits on the mouth of the mighty Columbia River, a major shipping route for decades and a lifeline of the Pacific Northwest. The story of the town is as varied as the residents themselves. Shipwrecks, sailors, fishermen, and lumberjacks call Astoria home. And while the town has changed considerably over the past 100 years, that maritime charm remains.
Astoria puts its best foot forward along the 6.4-mile Riverwalk, which showcases the history, culture, art, and food ofthis coastal town. The paved trail extends along the length of the town’s waterfront. The corridor is dotted with attractions, including places to eat, drink, and learn about the maritime history in which the town is steeped.
A must-see attraction is the Astoria-Megler Bridge. Connecting southern Washington to northern Oregon, this immense truss bridge spans the Columbia River and is truly awe-inspiring.
The trail is a relic of the Astoria and Columbia River Railroad, but since its completion in 1898, it has served many masters, from timber to tourism. After service ended in the early 1990s, the corridor quickly became overgrown, unusable, and unpassable. Thanks to the hard work by many trail advocates in Astoria, the Astoria Riverwalk is now a shining star that compliments the town that residents and visitors know and love.
Start at the far western tip of the trail, near Pier 1. Ship lovers will love the diversity of vessels being stored here. The Maritime Memorial is a short distance to the west. Learn about the maritime significance of Astoria and read about the trials and tribulations that seafaring life brought to residents.
At 17th Street, take a turn and continue the road toward the Columbia River Maritime Museum. The museum is housed in a sweeping wood-shingle building and is chock full of information about one of the most dangerous passages in the world, the Columbia River Bar.
If you want to intermingle some more in-town destinations with your Riverwalk tour, simply veer right and take your pick of a number of Astoria sites. For instance, the Oregon Film Museum (which holds plenty of Goonies information, rest assured!) and the Captain George Flavel House are only a block away from each other and barely three blocks from the trail.
Food options abound in Astoria. Consider the Wet Dog Café or for something a little more upscale, a visit to Baked Alaska. If you just need a cup of joe and a pastry, stop into The Coffee Girl. For those motivated by malt, go for Fort George Brewery. This establishment only serves brews from the Pacific Northwest and you can be sure that you’ll leave satisfied.
Other locations to note in town are the Garden of the Surging Waves and Astoria Column. Seemingly every notable attraction in Astoria is walking distance from the trail. The restored Riverfront Trolley is must-do attraction along this trail. For 2.6 miles of the path, the 1913 car chugs up and down, paralleling the trail. You can catch and dismount the trolley at designated spots along the way. The trolley runs from March to December and is a fun experience for folks of every age!
The trolley isn’t the only noise you’ll hear along the corridor, though. As you reach the end of the trail, near 36th street, the barking of sun-bathing sea lions can be heard. Watch them waddle, play, and holler in their unique way.
The trail’s eastern terminus is at Alder Street near 53rd street. When you reach the end near the wastewater treatment plant, swing back around and experience the trail from a new perspective.
Although the Astoria Riverwalk is a relatively short trail, the history is rich and the scenery is breathtaking. Take your time to explore not just the corridor but the maritime town that hosts it.
Today, visit the many attractions farther afield, like the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, which commemorates their journey; they camped here at Fort Clatsop during the winter of 1805–1806.
For more Lewis and Clark history, stop at the Sunset Beach State Recreation Site, which serves as a trailhead for the Fort to Sea Trail, a 6.5-mile hike through an area once traversed by the famed adventurers. The 120-acre park also offers beachfront along the Pacific Ocean.
Nearby is Fort Stevens State Park; its sprawling 4,300 acres offers a wealth of recreational opportunities, including camping, swimming, and wildlife viewing. Journey on the Kestrel Dune Trail, one of several multi-use pathways in the park that houses historical Fort Stevens, built at the mouth of the Columbia River near the end of the Civil War. The trail begins on Peter Iredale Road, named for the 1906 shipwreck that is still visible on the beach. From there, the path leads north through spruce and hemlock forests, paralleling the ocean only about 200 yards away. After nearly 2 miles, the trail ends at the base of a large sandy plain called the Clatsop Spit.