Seaside History

The End of the Trail

February 6, 2013 | by Nate Burke

In 1940, the “End of the Trail” sign was built at the turnaround to commemorate the Lewis & Clark expedition’s two year, 4,000 mile journey across the North American continent.  The original sign was a depiction of the expedition’s crowning achievement and a monument to the historical significance of the North Oregon Coast.

“Ocian in view! O! the joy!” wrote Capt. William Clark as he stood at the Columbia River Estuary up north.  The expedition ultimately settled on the south side of the Columbia in December of 1805 (15 miles north of Seaside in present day Astoria). There they built Fort Clatsop and called it home for the winter.  Nowadays, Fort Clatsop is a magnet for enthusiasts and includes a replica of the original fort, an interpretive center offering an exhibit hall, a theater, and also features popular ranger-led historical programs.

The Salt Works in Seaside is a historical site commemorating the expedition’s salt making activities (salt was vital in the food-preservation process).  They set up camp just off the sand dunes which is now a residential area next to the promenade on Lewis & Clark Way.

On January 6, Clark took 12 men through the Salt Makers’ Camp and over Tillamook Head to view a beached whale at what is now Ecola State Park (“ecola” is the Chinook word for whale) and barter for blubber and oil.  While on the Tillamook Head trail, Clark paused at one of the many spectacular viewpoints and later wrote “From this point I beheld the grandest and most pleasing prospects which my eyes ever surveyed, in my frount a boundless Ocean . . . . the Seas brak with great force [and] gives this Coast a most romantic appearance.”

These are just a few of the local Lewis & Clark historical sites in the area.  Thanks to preservation efforts, all of these landmarks and moments of awe in the Lewis & Clark legacy can be relived along Oregon’s North Coast by the modern explorer.  However, the original “End of the Trail” sign at the turnaround has been replaced by a towering bronze statue of the explorers facing west.  It’s a transporting experience looking out over the Pacific next to the bronze replicas of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.  At these times Capt. Clark’s outcry, “Ocian in view! O! the Joy!” becomes a passionate sentiment that rings true even in our modern times.

Editors Note: The quotations above originate from William Clark’s journal. Though containing typos, Clark’s words have been quoted with his original creative spelling intact.

and so much more!

Burgers and a beer at U Street Pub & Eatery
Big Burgers You’ll Want to Brag About

Seaside is, of course, known for its fresh seafood. Dozens of restaurants have clam chowders and local razor clams on the menu. Bu...

Learn More
COVID: What to Expect at the Beach and on the Prom

Seaside’s wide-open sandy shoreline has been a favorite playground for generations of visitors. As you plan your next trip, you ...

Learn More
Where to P.L.A.Y. in Seaside

The park is nestled next to Neawanna Creek where ducks float lazily by, a tree lined mountainside looming in the distance. Do a 180 and you get a great view of Tillamook Head to the south.

Learn More
Keeping Watch on Our Waters

Washington lighthouses, just an hour's drive from Seaside, are historic wonders

Learn More
1st Generation Boardwalk: High Definition for the Old Guard

The Promenade started out as a wooden boardwalk that attracted visitors from far

Learn More
Alcohol Server Training at Clatsop Community College

Alcohol server training certificate at Clatsop Community College in South County Center

Learn More
How To Walk Seaside, Oregon

Discover things to see in Seaside, OR including the Seaside Promenade, Tillamook Head Trail & Tillamook Head Lighthouse, bird...

Learn More
Shell Road

Shell Road was the small, primitive pathway that eventually became Broadway.

Learn More
Celebrating the Moms in Our Life

Honoring motherhood through a photo on the beach

Learn More
Sweets in Seaside

Confections conjure up memories of visits to Seaside Oregon as a child.

Learn More
Fall in Seaside

Experiencing the changing seasons in Seaside

Learn More
Seaside Lifeguards: A Fond Seasonal Farewell

Can you believe it’s almost Labor Day Weekend? Don’t fret!  We’re still probably in for some dynamic weather throughout Sep...

Learn More
The Succulent Season

Celebrating the arrival of the Oregon Coast

Learn More
Establishing Another World Record

Seaside Beach Volleyball Tournament establishes yet another record during stellar event.

Learn More
Let’s Fly a Kite

On the beach at Seaside is perfect for this. There are no overhead wires and the beach has few up or down wind drafts from the winds which move across the ocean. This makes kite flying easier and explains why kites are a common part of the Seaside landscape. Kite flying is for dry days as wet kite lines can act as a conductor for static electricity and lightning in a storm.

Learn More
The Sweet Side of Seaside

Above photo: A tray of sweets on display at A Sweet Affaire, held every February. In February, we invite you to bask in the sweet ...

Learn More
Biking the N. Coast Mountain Range

Opportunities endless when hopping on two wheels to navigate Seaside area

Learn More
Finding a Room in Seaside, Oregon

One of the many services we offer at the City of Seaside Visitors Bureau is lodging assistance for visitors. During busy months, V...

Learn More