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Scenic Stroll of Discovery
Published: 06/16/2008
The 6.2-mile Discovery Trail offers a scenic stroll along the edge of the Pacific Ocean.
The 6.2-mile Discovery Trail offers a scenic stroll along the edge of the Pacific Ocean.

Washington's Discovery Trail invites you to enjoy a leisurely and scenic stroll on the Long Beach Peninsula.

Winding through coastal forest on Cape Disappointment and along an asphalt path through dunes on the Long Beach Peninsula, Discovery Trail offers a scenic and leisurely stroll at the edge of the Pacific Ocean. The 6.2 mile trail is easily accessible and provides a chance to walk through waving dune grass, enjoy seabirds feeding along the shore, glimpse the occasional deer wandering through the dunes, listen to the rhythms of the ocean and find small wild strawberries in season. The trailhead in Ilwaco can be found at the west end of Main Street SW and includes three wooden bridge crossings as it winds gently through the forest to the sea. At various points, the trees open up to reveal breathtaking views of the ocean and the Columbia River far below. Then the trail drops to sea level and parallels the ocean on its course north to Long Beach. Discovery Trail was designed to commemorate the Lewis and Clark expedition as they walked to the Pacific Ocean in 1805. Monuments to that history dot the trail, including a 20-foot bronze tree on which are carved the names of the men in the party and a bronze statue of Captain Clark resting alongside a 20-foot long bronze sturgeon. Perhaps the most interesting monument on the trail is the skeleton of a 38-foot gray whale, which washed up here in 2000. For those who wish to learn about the 'Graveyard of the Pacific' and the flora and fauna of the area, there are interpretive art displays where the trail intersects with the boardwalk. Metal sculptures, including fish-shaped bicycle racks and a topographical bronze display of Southwest Washington's landscape, add interest to the stroll. For those walking with pets, silhouettes of dancing dogs mark the spot where one can pick up litterbags. - By Una Boyle

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