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Fort Stevens State Park
Published: 06/23/2014
The 1906 Peter Iredale shipwreck is a popular attraction at Fort Stevens State Park on the North Oregon Coast.
The 1906 Peter Iredale shipwreck is a popular attraction at Fort Stevens State Park on the North Oregon Coast.
Photo by Gary Hayes

Find heaping helpings of history along with the requisite stunning scenery and athletic outdoor pursuits near Astoria at Fort Stevens State Park.

The military installation at Fort Stevens State Park once guarded the Pacific Northwest interior from invasion. Before that, the area was home to a Clatsop Indian village that did a brisk business in trade. Today, the 4,250-acre park's crowning jewels are miles of trails for hiking and biking, freshwater lakes for paddling and an historic shipwreck located along the park's scenic public beach.

The surprisingly intact remains of the Peter Iredale shipwreck have been resting on the shore at Fort Stevens since it ran aground on October 25, 1906 during an attempt to enter the mouth of the Columbia River. The Peter Iredale, built in 1890, was once a magnificent, four masted steel barque. Today, it is the only accessible shipwreck for viewing in this area known as the Graveyard of the Pacific for the many ships that the treacherous waters claimed.

Visitors to the park can also cycle nine miles of paved bike trails or strike out on foot along six miles of hiking trails that lead through a stunning stretch of spruce and hemlock forest, plus wetlands, dunes and shore pine areas. With plenty of wildlife around, you're likely to spy a critter or two secreted away among all the flora and fauna. On warmer days, hit the freshwater Coffenbury Lake for fishing, canoeing or swimming. Horseback riding is also on offer.

Military buffs will enjoy exploring the park's military museum and an accompanying host of preserved bunkers. There's also an Indian long house replica, a Civil-War-era earthen site and artillery gun batteries. In summer, tours are led through underground military relics. In fall, you may even witness a Civil War battle reenactment.

The Fort Stevens State Park campground is the largest in Oregon. There are approximately 170 full hook-up sites, more than 300 with water and electric, 15 yurts and 11 cabins. Fort Stevens State Park is located in Hammond, Oregon, approximately nine miles west of Astoria. - By Erin Bernard

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