Astoria, Oregon and Fort Stevens

Trip Date: November 23rd and 24th, 2021

5 Inch Naval Gun in Battery 245 at Fort Stevens State Park

On this trip I’m doing a vacation style exploration with my Mom during the days leading up to Thanksgiving 2021. Since neither Mom or I had ever spent much time in Oregon before, we decided it would be fun to spend the night in Astoria, Oregon and take in some new sights and experiences. Our journey began with a road trip through the far south-west corner of Washington State, eventually traveling over the Astoria-Megler bridge on US Highway 101, crossing the Columbia River and arriving in Astoria, Oregon.

Astoria-Megler Bridge on the Oregon Shores of the Columbia River

After spending the night in the Holiday Inn Express Hotel in Astoria, directly beside the Astoria bridge, we were well rested and ready to take a look around Astoria in the morning light. After a quick bite to eat at the hotel breakfast bar, we checked out of the Hotel and hit the road. We had an excellent time exploring around the small streets and thoroughfares of the town. Especially memorable was going up the hill and traveling through the old neighborhoods packed with historical houses and civic buildings built with various architectures and styles.

Overview of the City of Astoria, Oregon
Bridge Across the Young’s River

At the top of Coxcomb Hill, overlooking the entirety of the town, lies the Astoria Column, an excellent historical visiting place. The column was constructed in 1926 to commemorate the City of Astoria’s role in the Astor family’s business history. The column features a painted mural on it’s exterior surface, depicting various events in the early history of Oregon. On the inside is an excellent spiral staircase ascending to the top of the tower where a door opens out to the external viewing platform. The views from the top of the tower are absolutely stunning and definitely worth the $5 yearly parking fee at the park and the 100 feet of stair climb. I will definitely visit the Astoria Column again next time I’m in town.

Historical Astoria Column, Built 1926, 125 ft. Tall

Lone Ridge standing to the South of Astoria, Oregon

After departing the Astoria Column city park we turned our sites towards nearby Fort Stevens State Park. This is the first Oregon State Park I had ever visited and it sure left a great impression for what the Oregon State Park system has to offer. We did not even see the whole park it was so gigantic. We started by taking a look at the old historic military site area at the north east part of the park. I walked around various Gun Batteries and we drove past the remaining buildings and old foundations of the military living quarters that used the stand here.

Map of Fort Stevens State Park
A more modern wheeled artillery piece

After visiting the historical area, we made our way to Battery Russell, where another large concrete artillery gun fort was located. It was really cool to be able to crawl around the old historical concrete bunkers and imagine the history of the place. It would have been quite a contrasting experience to live in the soft and verdant landscape and work in the cold hard concrete bunkers.

View looking down the line of Gun Batteries at Fort Stevens State Park

At the north west end of the park lies the Clatsop Spit, a small strip of beach peninsula land that extends miles out into the mouth of the Columbia River. On the east side of the spit lies Trestle Bay and on the west side is the Pacific Ocean. We stopped at the Observation Tower near the tip of the spit and got out to look. The observation tower is short at about 15 feet, with only one flight of stairs, making it easy to access. From the tower your sightline is above the sand dunes where you get a magnificent view of the Pacific Ocean, with the picturesque Oregon coastline extending into the distance. I could have spent hours right here on this tower, taking in the views of the crashing waves, colorful skies, sandy beaches and Mountains in the distance.

Oregon Coast Mountains along the Pacific Ocean Shoreline

Mom and I both had a great time visiting Astoria, Oregon and could definitely see visiting again in the future. Fort Stevens is also a great destination to keep as a camping destination in the winter time. The park was gigantic, offers year round camping and has all kinds of hiking, biking, beach and historical activities to enjoy.

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