On the Waterfront
While most of Astoria’s waterfront is lined with warehouses, industry, and docks, the 6th Street Riverpark and River Walk will get you front-row views of the river. The park is a local favorite place to watch ships from the sheltered observation platform and to fish for Columbia River salmon. Placards around the park display information about the Lewis and Clark Expedition and the area’s Chinook natives.
Walk east from Pier 6 past the fish-packing plants for an interesting if malodorous and noisy (thanks to the sea lions) perspective on what is still a working commercial fishing port. The 11th Street Pier has been developed with a restaurant and shops, and the 14th Street Pier and 17th Street Dock are two other convenient access points for watching cargo ships, sea lions, and fishing boats.
The River Walk provides paved riverside passage for pedestrians and cyclists along a four-mile stretch between the Port of Astoria and the community of Alderbrook. The path continues unpaved another two miles eastward to Tongue Point.
You don’t need a fancy bike to pedal the River Walk; rent a hefty cruiser from The Bike Garage (1343 Duane St., 503/338-7433). This friendly little shop also caters to bicycle tourists.
An excellent way to cover some of the same ground, accompanied by color commentary on sights and local history, is by taking a 40-minute ride on Old Number 300, the Astoria Riverfront Trolley (503/325-6311, http://homepage.mac.com/cearl/trolley/, noon–7 p.m. daily Memorial Day–Labor Day, noon–6 p.m. weekends fall and spring, $1 per ride or $2 all day), which runs on Astoria’s original train tracks alongside the River Walk as far east as the East Mooring Basin.
Trolley shelters are at several locations along the route; you can also flag it down by waving a dollar bill. The lovingly restored 1913 trolley originally served San Antonio and later ran between Portland and Lake Oswego in the 1980s. During heavy rains, the antique trolley may stay put in its newly constructed barn.
Toward the eastern end of the River Walk, at Pier 39, the Hanthorn Cannery (100 39th St., 503/325-2502, www.canneryworker.org, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. daily, free) is a rather informal museum housed in an old Bumble Bee tuna cannery. Exhibits include some lovely old wooden boats, photos, and canning equipment. There’s also a coffee shop and a brewpub at this location, so it’s a good place to take a break.
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel