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Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
160.00 ft (48.77 m)
Trail type
2.60 mi (4.18 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Corps of Discovery originally intended to establish a winter camp on the northern banks of the Columbia River in what is now Washington. Advice from the Clatsop people and exhaustion with a diet consisting exclusively of salmon led the group to unanimously agree to relocate to the river's south side, where elk and deer were said to be ubiquitous.  Meriwether Lewis and five men scouted the southern shoreline in and around Youngs Bay, and on December 7, 1805, the entire Corps of Discovery began constructing Fort Clatsop just off the banks of the Netul River.*  By Christmas of that year the fort was occupied.

Much has obviously changed since then, but the Netul River and the boggy landscape that flank its shores look much as they did back in 1805.

Hiking next to the river, over forested hilltops and through native wetlands, this 2.7-mile interpretive loop provides a unique insight into what the Corps of Discovery would have experienced over 200 years ago.  Bring your binoculars as great blue herons and numerous other waterfowl nest along the river's banks and throughout the Southern Slough.

*Both the Clatsop natives and Lewis and Clark referred to the river, which originates just south of Saddle Mountain, as the "Netul," but in 1925 the name was changed to the Lewis and Clark River.  Today, not to completely confuse visitors, you will see signage using both names.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Not Required


Bird watching. Trail travels through diverse landscapes.


Steep trail near the southern end of the loop.

Trailhead Elevation

30.00 ft (9.14 m)


Bird watching


Nearby Adventures

Oregon, Northern Oregon Coast
Lewis and Clark National Historic Park
Lewis and Clark National Historic Park

Nearby Lodging + Camping


Mileages posted on site vary about 10-20% more than mileages posted here, and my legs agree.

Also, highway noise is loud and omnipresent the length of the trail but lowers to a dull roar at dawn.
new years hike.....start at parking lot and head towards the Fort first for an easier beginning and to warm up before the hilly portions of this trail.
Quite a variety of terrain for a short hike.
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