Cathlamet Travel Guide

  • Overlooking Cathlamet
    Overlooking Cathlamet
    by mtncorg
  • County courthouse for Wahkiakum County
    County courthouse for Wahkiakum County
    by mtncorg
  • Historical tablet records the experiences of L&C
    Historical tablet records the...
    by mtncorg

Cathlamet Things to Do

  • mtncorg's Profile Photo
    Julia Hansen Bridge from Puget Island 4 more images

    by mtncorg Written Oct 23, 2011

    Cathlamet has been isolated from the rest of Washington for much of its early existence. The establishment of Wahkiakum County so early in the life of Washington – the Territorial government established the county in 1858, one year into Washington’s history – reflects that isolation. State Highway 4 remains the only main road in and out of the county and it was only opened in 1930. Before that, the river was the main transportation artery. A road was developed across Puget Island in 1925 and car ferries then connected across to Westport, Oregon, which was another way out of town preceding the development of the Ocean Beach Highway (State Route 4). Connecting Cathlamet to Puget Island is this bridge which was completed in 1939. The bridge is some 2,433 feet long and soars some 60 feet above the river. This channel was the main channel at the time of Lewis & Clark’s visit though today the main shipping channel has been moved to the south side of Puget Island. The bridge was renamed in honor of Cathlamet’s most well known political figure Congresswoman Julia Butler Hansen – State Representative from 1939-1960 and Congresswoman 1960-1974. Local osprey have taken advantage of the bridge towers to set their nest up high – many old river pilings can also been seen along the river to also host osprey nests. On my walk across the bridge, the adult ospreys were mildly upset at my intrusion into their space – cars don’t bother them as they are fast gone from the scene – but they were wildly upset at the intrusion a mountain corgi walking at my side, even though the poor little dog was probably only a little bigger than they were and certainly no threat to climb up the steel griders with his short little legs.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Birdwatching
    • Historical Travel

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    Pilings reflect a busier time in Cathlamet history 3 more images

    by mtncorg Written Oct 23, 2011

    Cathlamet was an important stop along the Columbia River between Astoria and the settlements at the mouth of the Willamette Valley – Portland and Fort Vancouver. A recently developed trail takes you along the old waterfront of what was mcuh busier than what you see today. Tugboats still moor themselves at the little harbor here, though most of the ocean-going traffic passes quickly by out of sight to the south beyond Puget Island.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Photography
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Historical tablet records the experiences of L&C 1 more image

    by mtncorg Written Oct 23, 2011

    This was the largest Native American settlement along the banks of the Columbia River that Lewis & Clark visited on their 1805-1806 journey. The village boasted of some 300 to 400 people – there are only 532 living here in 2010. The county that developed here in 1858 was named after the old cheiftain here, Wahkiakum – “Tall Timber” in Chinook. The viewpoint is found at the confluence of the Elcohman River and Slough with the Columbia next to a small marina. Lewis & Clark noted the weather was very uncooperative when they visited, something you can see from the pictures that hasn’t changed much with suceeding years.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Sailing and Boating
    • Fishing

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Cathlamet Transportation

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    Loading up on Puget Island for crossing to Oregon 4 more images

    by mtncorg Written Oct 23, 2011

    The “Wahkiakum” has been running across the main channel of the Columbia River between Puget Island and Westport, Oregon since 1962 making its ten minute crossing every hour. It is the last of many car ferries that used to run across the river between Oregon and Washington. The boat has a nine car capacity – get here early on weekends or you’ll have to wait for the next hour’s ride. The ferry connects on the Washington side to a road – State Route 409 - which bissects Puget Island and runs up to Cathlamet across the Julia Butler Hansen Bridge. Many local workers use the ferry to commute to work at the Wauna mill on the Oregon side just downriver from Westport. The ferry is the only way across for cars between the Astoria-Megler bridge and the Lewis & Clark bridge between Longview, Washington and Rainier, Oregon.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Sailing and Boating
    • Road Trip

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    by glabah Written Sep 19, 2011

    There aren't a lot of people in Wahkiakum County, and naturally public transit services are very limited. There is, however, a bus service offered between the Kelso, Washington Amtrak station, downtown Cathlamet, and places on Puget Island.

    The service operates one set of schedules on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Due to budget limits and low ridership, the Tuesday schedule is somewhat different. The schedule on the web site offers a back page with an unmarked limited timetable. This might be a Saturday schedule, but it is not clear to me that this is the case.

    The trip takes a little over an hour, one way, between Cathlamet to Longview. The Kelso Amtrak station is about 1/2 an hour after that. The bus then runs directly to Cathlamet without the diversion through Longview.

    A new schedule was implemented starting August 2011.

    Once you get out of Longview, the route along highway 4 is reasonably scenic.

    A number of the bus stops are either unmarked where you need to get off. Other places (such as Puget Island) require notification a day ahead of time with the transit agency so they know there will be someone there and they can schedule a bus to run there.

    Fares are $1, or free of charge for seniors and those with disabilities.

    On the web site below, select "Wahkiakum County on the Move Bus Schedule" from the menu on the left side.

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel

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