Skamokawa is on the Lower Columbia River in historic Skamokawa, Washington (just 90 minutes from Portland) is a place of incredible natural beauty, with wildlife in native habitats, islands to explore, ancient Sitka spruce swamp, and hidden places of perfect solitude. It is a world that remains much the same as Lewis and Clark saw it 200 years ago.
Columbia River Kayaking
In March of 2013, Columbia River Kayaking moved from their old location behind the Skamokawa store to new offices in the Skamokawa Landing building. They are owned by six local guides with nearly 60 years of combined experience leading trips and teaching kayaking on the Lower Columbia River and beyond.
You can find beginner-friendly tours every weekend through mid October, and instruction and instructional tours at all levels, from ‘never been in a kayak before’ up to ‘surf and coastal play’ for those with the appropriate skills. Custom arrangements are available too. Combine a kayak tour with lodging at Skamokawa Landing and enjoy a discount on the tour and the lodging.
Family-style lodging, General Store, Maps and more! Walk along the boardwalk to the gazebo for a fantastic view of Skamokawa. Pick up a gift, cold drink and camping necessities in their store. Located across from River Life Interpretive Center. Visit their website at www.skamokawaresort.com. 360-795-0726
This historic steamboat landing site is located in the historic community of Skamokawa (Skuh-mah-kuh-way), Washington. The building is listed on the National Register of Historical Places, is on the Lewis & Clark Trail and has a sweeping view of the lower river. The building now houses vacation rental suites and Columbia River Kayaking. www.viewpointlanding.com
If you are looking for a picnic spot, or a place to camp. Vista Park is ideal. With RV hook-ups, yurts in the mountains and a great beach, this park is the perfect location for a family get-away. You’ll enjoy the view of the mighty Columbia and be able to watch the occasional giant ship heading in from the Pacific Ocean. Call 360-795-8605 or e-mail us at: [email protected] Or vistit the park website at wahport2.org.
Friends of Skamokawa River Life Interpretive Center @ Redmen Hall
Home of the RiverLife Interpretive Center owned and operated by the Friends of Skamokawa Volunteers. Stop by the RiverLife interpretive center and walk into history as you marvel at photo’s, listen to docents and learn about the history of the once bustling town of Skamokawa. Climb the 88 steps up to the bell tower and experience a panoramic view of the Columbia. Enjoy seasonal events and exhibits celebrating the local community.
Suggested donation is $2.00 for Adults and $1.00 for Children/Students
Hours: Weekends from 12-4 and T/Th from 10-2
Location & History
History of Skamokawa
Skamokawa was listed on the National Register as a National Historic District in 1976, as one of the few surviving examples of a small water-based community once common along the lower Columbia River. The village is spread out along a system of creeks and sloughs which drain three valleys and once formed the only transportation network. Before 1917 there were no roads, all transportation was by water: by sternwheeler, sailing vessel and fish boat.
Skamokawa was sometimes referred to as “Little Venice.” Houses and other buildings were built facing the water, usually with a dock and boat, and were linked by boardwalks. People rowed to church, to mercantile establishments, or to visit friends or family in other parts of the community.
The earliest pioneers settled in the Skamokawa area in the 1860s, drawn from all over the world by abundant natural resources, such as timber and salmon, as well as by the opportunity to establish farms. Early settlers took out donation land claims, fished, and worked in logging camps in order to provide incomes for their families. The Bayview Cannery, established in 1873 about a mile down river from the town, provided a market for commercially caught salmon from the Columbia River.
By the period of the 1890s, Skamokawa could boast of a draw-bridge linking the island church to the rest of the community, several lumber and shake mills, a ship-yard connected with the Columbia River Lumber and Manufacturing Company, a newspaper, the Skamokawa Eagle, still in business today as the Wahkiakum County Eagle. In 1894 the community built the Central School, today known as the Redmen Hall and containing the River Life Interpretive Center.
The Skamokawa Creamery was renowned for the quality of its butter and won many prizes at state and regional fairs, it now the site of Skamokawa Resort.
Today, commercial fishing on the Columbia River, logging and small scale farming still provide the economic sustenance for the community, along with several tourist-oriented activities and business such as Kayaking, fishing, Canoeing, Biking, bed-and-breakfasts, camping at Vista Park, Redmen Hall museum, Skamokawa Resort, Skamokawa Inn and the Julia Butler Hanson Game Refuse, and several Lewis and Clark Heritage sites.
Additional historical resources: