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Clatsop Spit, Astoria

4.9
#5 of 6 in Nature in Astoria
Clatsop Spit is a giant sand spit on the Pacific coast along U.S. Route 101 between Astoria and the north end of Tillamook Head in Clatsop County, northwest Oregon at the mouth of the Columbia River. The Clatsop Spit was formed by Columbia River sediment brought to the coast by the river flow after the last ice age ended approximately 8500 years ago and the ocean level rose. Here it was worked over and shaped by the wind and the waves until a vast and sandy plain was formed. In regular conversation, referring to Clatsop Spit usually refers to the northern end of the spit: the area that is bound by the Pacific to the west and the Columbia River to the northeast. In the past, the spit was known as Clatsop Sands.ShipwrecksThe seas around Clatsop Spit were known to be treacherous and there were many shipwrecks, including the paddle steamer General Warren in which 42 people died in the surf in 1852 and in 1859, the schooner Rambler washed up on Clatsop Spit. No trace of her crew was ever found. In 1860, the barque Leonese washed up on Clatsop Spit upside down and her crew lost. In 1883 the crew of the luxury schooner J.C. Cousins operated by the State of Oregon similarly vanished as she washed ashore. Other shipwrecks include the barquentine Makah (1888), and the bark Peter Iredale in 1906. It is estimated that since 1800 more than 2,000 vessels and close to 1,000 lives have been lost at the mouth of the Columbia River and in this context it is referred to as the Graveyard of the Pacific.
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Clatsop Spit Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
38 reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Was very impressed at how many trails and parking areas and interpretive signs there were. Great view from the tower - although it was moving in the wind when I was there which might not be to everyon...  more »
  • You must go up on the tower deck to see the overlook. View is amazing. Even if the day is cloudy you might better understand this place and see were river meets with salty ocean.  more »
  • Great view that helps create a better understanding of our attempts to try to create a predictable and safe shipping lane. You can also see what a massive undertaking the building of the jetty was. Wh...  more »
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