In 1805, as Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark guided the Corps of Discovery in search of the Pacific Ocean, they stopped to trade with the Kathlamet and Wahkiakum tribes that populated the shores of the Columbia River. Within decades, this area would become the trading post of Cathlamet, which is the local Chinook word for "stone" or "rocky stretch of a river channel."
Today, Cathlamet (pronounced Kath-LAM-et) remains perched upon Southwest Washington's rugged riverbanks, with 537 residents who comprise the only incorporated community in Wahkiakum County. It's a place for boating and fishing, for strolling on Main Street, and for exploring the mighty Columbia River outside our quiet Cathlamet vacation rentals.
First sighted in 1792 by an officer in Captain George Vancouver's fleet, Cathlamet attracted its first permanent European settler, James Birnie, in 1846. Now the seat of Wahkiakum County, Cathlamet occupies a region that has seen the arrival of fur traders from Russia, farmers from Scandinavia, cannery workers from China, and migrants on the Oregon Trail. The town sits just 26 miles west of Longview, 49 miles east of the historic seaport of Astoria, and 75 miles northwest of eclectic downtown Portland.
With the intoxicating atmosphere of a small, charming town, Cathlamet offers its visitors ease, tranquility, and direct access to the Columbia River.
Your vacation begins on Main Street, where you can pop inside the Tsuga Gallery, sample a local restaurant or two, or take a quick detour to the century-old Pioneer Church. Admire beautiful riverfront views from the two-acre Strong Park, or learn a bit of local lore at the Wahkiakum Historical Society Museum next door.
Follow 3rd Street to reach the Elochoman Slough Marina, where you'll find a boat ramp, overnight and long-term moorage, and docking space for vessels up to 90 feet in length. Spend a leisurely afternoon watching fishing boats and tugboats come and go, or walk up the road for a craft beer at River Mile 38 Brewing Co.
In search of even more peace and quiet? Cross the Hansen Bridge to reach Puget Island, where you can pick up fresh market produce at Stockhouse's and Little Island Farms, or take a ride to Westport, OR, on the Wahkiakum County Ferry - the last operating toll passenger ferry on the Lower Columbia River.
With a scenic riverfront position within striking distance of the ocean coast, our Cathlamet vacation rentals offer day-trippers no shortage of exciting options.
Head west for the day to visit the iconic coastal town of Astoria, the famous setting of The Goonies and the site of the steel cantilever Astoria-Megler Bridge. Walk in the footsteps of the Corps of Discovery at Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, or stand at the mouth of the Columbia River at Cape Disappointment State Park and Lighthouse.
One of the most beautiful stretches of the Oregon Coast awaits just south of the Columbia, whether you stroll on the beach in Seaside, hike the ocean bluffs in Ecola State Park, or go tidepooling at the base of Haystack Rock on Cannon Beach. If you opt to head east instead, you'll be just 75 miles from the unique restaurants, independent stores, and gorgeous city parks of downtown Portland.
Let our Cathlamet vacation rentals transport you to one of Washington's most peaceful landscapes - book your unforgettable trip today!
Photo Credit: Joe Mabel via Flickr