Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
Home Regions Campsites Penny Postcards My Corps of Discovery Image Index Links About This Site Main Menu
Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Tillamook Head, Oregon"
Includes ... Tillamook Head ... "Clark's Point of View" ...
Image, 2009, Tillamook Head, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Pacific Ocean and Tillamook Head with Brown Pelicans, Oregon. View from the South Jetty, Clatsop Spit. Image taken September 27, 2009.


Tillamook Head ...
Tillamook Head is a large Oregon headland extending into the Pacific, south of Clatsop Beach and Clatsop Spit, and can be seen from as far north as Cape Disappointment, Washington. The Oregon community of Seaside lies just north of the headland and Cannon Beach lies south of the headland.

Image, 2010, Tillamook Head from Seaside, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Tillamook Head from the beach at Seaside, Oregon. Image taken May 2, 2010.


"Clark's Point of View" ...
Captain Clark is generally given credit as the first white person to not only view but also visit Tillamook Head. On November 18, 1805, while at Cape Disappointment, Clark wrote:

"... from Cape Disapointment to a high point of a Mountn. which we shall call [the Nicholas Biddle version has Clarke's Point of View inserted here, the "mountain" having received that name from Captain Clark's visit to it in January 1806.] beares S. 20 W. about <40> [WC?: 25] miles, point adams is verry low and is Situated within the direction between those two high points of land, ..." [Clark, November 18, 1805]

Captain Clark passed, climbed, and spent the night near the top of Tillamook Head on January 7-8, 1806, while on his way to Cannon Beach to see a dead whale.

"... assended a Steep mountain, as Steep at it is possible places for 1500 [two letters smudged, illegible] feet we hauled our Selves up by the assistence of the bushes if one had Given way we must have fallen a great distanc the Steepest worst & highest mountain I ever assended I think it at least 1500 feet highr than the Sea imidiately under on the riht. ..." [Clark, January 7, 1806, first draft]

"... after walking for 2 miles on the Stones my guide made a Sudin halt, pointed to the top of the mountain and uttered the word Pe Shack which means bad and made Signs that we could not proceed any further on the rocks, but must pass over that mountain, I hesitated a moment & view this emence mountain the top of which was obscured in the clouds, and the assent appeard, to be almost perpindecular; ..." [Clark, January 7, 1806]

The next morning Clark proceeded to the top and exclaimed over the view, giving Tillamook Head it's often-used named "Clark's Point of View".

"... we Set out early and proceeded to the top of the mountain next to the which is much the highest part and that part faceing the Sea is open, from this point I beheld the grandest and most pleasing prospects which my eyes ever surveyed, in my frount a boundless Ocean; to the N. and N. E. the coast as as far as my sight Could be extended, the Seas rageing with emence wave and brakeing with great force from the rocks of Cape Disapointment as far as I could See to the N. W. The Clatsops Chinnooks and other villagers on each Side of the Columbia river and in the Praries below me, the meanderings of 3 handsom Streams heading in Small lakes at the foot the high Country; The Columbia River for a Some distance up, with its Bays and Small rivers and on the other Side I have a view of the Coast for an emence distance to the S. E. by S. the nitches and points of high land which forms this Corse for a long ways aded to the inoumerable rocks of emence Sise out at a great distance from the Shore and against which the Seas brak with great force gives this Coast a most romantic appearance. from this point of View my guide pointed to a village at the mouth fo a Small river near which place he Said the whale was, he also pointed to 4 other places where the princpal Villages of the Kil la mox were Situated, I could plainly See the houses of 2 of those Villeges & the Smoke of a 3rd which was two far of for me to disern with my naked eye ..." [Clark, January 8, 1806]

Discovered by Heceta ??? ...
Point Adams was thought to have been discovered by Captain Bruno Heceta on August 17, 1775, while he was off the North American coast. Some historians however, even as early as 1889, question whether Heceta did not see Point Adams, but instead saw Tillamook Head.

From Heceta's journal:

"... On the evening of this day [August 17, 1775] I [Heceta] discovered a large bay, to which I gave the name Assumption Bay ... Its latitude and longitude are determined according to the most exact means afforded by theory and practice. The latitudes of the two most prominent capes of this bay are calculated from the observations of this day. ... Having arrived opposite this bay at six in the evening, and placed the ship nearly midway between the two capes ...

The two capes which I name in my plan, Cape San Roque and Cape Frondoso, lie in the angle of 10 degrees of the third quadrant. They are both faced with red earth and are of little elevation.

On the 18th I observed Cape Frondoso, with another cape, to which I gave the name of Cape Falcon, situated in the latitude of 45 degrees 43 minutes, and they lay at an angle of 22 degrees of the third quadrant, and from the last mentioned cape I traced the coast running in the angle of 5 degrees of the second quadrant. This land is mountainous, but not very high ... ..." [W.D. Lyman, 1909, The Columbia River, repeating paragraphs from Heceta's writings.]

From the 1889 U.S. Coast Survey in a description of Point Adams:

"... On August 17, 1775, he [Heceta] was off the mouth of the river, which he supposed to be a great bay, but he was so far distant that he noted only the Cape, on the north, and Tillamook Head on the south. ..."


Tillamook Head, etc.

  • Ecola Point and Ecola State Park ...
  • Tillamook Head Geology ...
  • World War II ...


Ecola Point and Ecola State Park ...
Today the entire tip of Tillamook Head is Ecola State Park, with one of the southern points being named Ecola Point. In 2004 Ecola State Park became part of the Lewis and Clark National Park, a grouping of National and State parks in Washington and Oregon relating to Lewis and Clark.
[More]

Image, 2010, Ecola Point looking south, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
View of the Oregon coastline looking at Crescent Beach and Chapman Point, as seen from Ecola Point, Ecola State Park, Oregon. Note Haystack Rock on far right. Image taken July 14, 2010.

"... I have a view of the Coast for an emence distance to the S. E. by S. the nitches and points of high land which forms this Corse for a long ways aded to the inoumerable rocks of emence Sise out at a great distance from the Shore and against which the Seas brak with great force gives this Coast a most romantic appearance ..."
[Clark, January 8, 1806]


Tillamook Head Geology ...
Fifteen million years ago large fissure eruptions occurred near Lewiston, Idaho, sending massive volumes of lava across eastern Washington and down the early Columbia River valley. These lava flows created layers upon layers of basalt reaching hundreds of feet in thickness. Collectively these lava flows are known as the Columbia River Basalts. Some of these flows poured into the Pacific Ocean and spread out through the soft marine sediments for dozens of miles. In some spots (such as Haystack Rock), these flows re-erupted through thousands of feet of mud onto the sea floor, essentially having their own eruptive centers. These lavas then cooled to become solid basalt. Millions of years later as the Coast Range lifted, so did these massive flows. Erosion took over creating such headlands as Tillamook Head and sea stacks such as Haystack Rock.


World War II ...
During World War II a radar station was located on Tillamook Head.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, November 18, 1805 ...
... from Cape Disapointment [Cape Disappointment, Washington] to a high point of a Mountn. which we shall call

[the Nicholas Biddle version has Clarke's Point of View inserted here. "Clarke's Point of View" is today's Tillamook Head, a name received when Clark visited and climbed the formation in Janaury 1806.]

beares S. 20 W. about <40> [WC?: 25] miles, point adams [Point Adams, Oregon] is verry low and is Situated within the direction between those two high points of land, the water appears verry Shole from off the mouth of the river for a great distance, and I cannot assertain the direction of the deepst Chanel, the Indians point nearest the opposit Side. the waves appear to brake with tremendious force in every direction quite across a large Sand bar lies within the mouth nearest to point Adams [Point Adams] which is nearly covered at high tide. I suped on brant this evening with a little pounded fish. Some rain in the after part of the night. men appear much Satisfied with their trip beholding with estonishment the high waves dashing against the rocks & this emence ocian.






Clark, January 7, 1806 ...
... after walking for 2 miles on the Stones my guide made a Sudin halt, pointed to the top of the mountain and uttered the word Pe Shack which means bad and made Signs that we could not proceed any further on the rocks, but must pass over that mountain [Tillamook Head], I hesitated a moment & view this emence mountain the top of which was obscured in the clouds, and the assent appeard, to be almost perpindecular; as the Small Indian parth allong which they had brought emence loads but a fiew hours before, led up this mountain and appeared to assend in a Sideling direction, I thought more than probable that the assent might be torerably easy and therefore proceeded on, I soon found that the [blank] become much worst as I assended, and at one place we were obliged to Support and draw our Selves up by the bushes & roots for near 100 feet, and after about 2 hours labour and fatigue we reached the top of this high mountain, from the top of which I looked down with estonishment to behold the hight which we had assended, which appeared to be 10 or 12 hundred feet up a mountain which appeared to be almost perpindicular, here we met 14 Indians men and women loaded with the oil & Blubber of the whale. In the face of this tremendeous precipic imediately below us, there is a Strater of white earth (which my guide informed me) the neighbouring indians use to paint themselves, and which appears to me to resemble the earth of which the French Porcelain is made; I am confident that this earth Contains argill, but whether it also Contains Silex or magnesia, or either of those earths in a proper perpotion I am unable to deturmine. we left the top of the precipice and proceeded on a bad road and encamped on a Small run passing to the left. all much fatiagued





Clark, January 8, 1806 ...
The last night proved fair and Cold wind hard from the S. E. we Set out early and proceeded to the top of the mountain [Tillamook Head] next to the which is much the highest part and that part faceing the Sea is open, from this point I beheld the grandest and most pleasing prospects which my eyes ever surveyed, in my frount a boundless Ocean; to the N. and N. E. the coast as as far as my sight Could be extended, the Seas rageing with emence wave and brakeing with great force from the rocks of Cape Disapointment [Cape Disappointment, Washington] as far as I could See to the N. W. The Clatsops Chinnooks and other villagers on each Side of the Columbia river and in the Praries below me [Clatsop Beach, also referred to as Clatsop Plains, comprised of Sunset Beach and Columbia Beach. This area today is the location of Seaside, Oregon], the meanderings of 3 handsom Streams heading in Small lakes at the foot the high Country; The Columbia River for a Some distance up, with its Bays and Small rivers and on the other Side I have a view of the Coast for an emence distance to the S. E. by S. the nitches and points of high land which forms this Corse for a long ways aded to the inoumerable rocks of emence Sise out at a great distance from the Shore [such as Haystack Rock] and against which the Seas brak with great force gives this Coast a most romantic appearance. from this point of View [Tillamook Head] my guide pointed to a village at the mouth fo a Small river [Ecola Creek] near which place he Said the whale was, he also pointed to 4 other places where the princpal Villages of the Kil la mox were Situated, I could plainly See the houses of 2 of those Villeges & the Smoke of a 3rd which was two far of for me to disern with my naked eye ... after taking the Courses and computed the Distances in my own mind, I proceeded on down a Steep decent to a Single house the remains of an old Kil a mox Town in a nitch imediately on the Sea Coast, at which place great no. of eregular rocks are out and the waves comes in with great force. ... The Coast in the neighbourhood of this old village is slipping from the Sides of the high hills, in emence masses; fifty or a hundred acres at a time give way and a great proportion of an instant precipitated into the Ocean.     those hills and mountains are principally composed of a yellow Clay; their Slipping off or Spliting assunder at this time is no doubt Caused by the incessant rains which has fallen within the last two months.     the mountains Covered with a verry heavy Croth of pine & furr, also the white Cedar or arbor vita and a Small proportion of the black alder, this alder grows to the hight of Sixty or Seventy feet and from 2 to 3 feet in diamiter. Some Speies of pine on the top of the Point of View [Tillamook Head] rise to the emmence hight of 210 feet and from 8 to 12 feet in diameter, and are perfectly Sound and Solid.     Wind hard from the S. E and See looked [blank] in the after part of the Day breaking with great force against the Scattering rocks at Some distance from Shore [possibly those at the base of Ecola Point, Ecola State Park], and the ruged rockey points under which we were obleged to pass and if we had unfortunately made one false Stet we Should eneviateably have fallen into the Sea and dashed against the rocks in an instant, fortunately we passed over 3 of those dismal points and arived on a butifull Sand Shore on which we Continued for 2 miles [Cannon Beach], Crossed a Creek [Ecola Creek] 80 yards near 5 Cabins, and proceeded to the place the whale had perished, found only the Skelleton of this monster on the Sand between 2 of the villages of the Kil a mox nation; the Whale [Historians believe it was the Blue Whale] was already pillaged of every valuable part by the Kil a mox Inds. in the vecinity of whose village's it lay on the Strand where the waves and tide had driven up & left it.     this Skeleton measured 105 feet.     I returned to the village of 5 Cabins on the Creek which I shall call E co-la or whale Creek [today known as Ecola Creek], found the nativs busily engaged boiling the blubber, which they performed in a large Squar wooden trought by means of hot Stones; ...





Journey to the PacificReturn to
Menu
 



SNAKE RIVER CONFLUENCE | COLUMBIA PLATEAU
COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE | VANCOUVER PLAINS | JOURNEY TO THE PACIFIC
CAMPSITES


HOME | REGIONS | PENNY POSTCARDS | MY CORPS OF DISCOVERY
IMAGE INDEX | LINKS | ABOUT THIS SITE


COLUMBIA RIVER IMAGES - HOME
NORTHWEST JOURNEY - HOME
NORTHWEST BIRDING
RIDGEFIELD NWR - BIRDS
COMPLETE BIRD LIST - PHOTOS
THE BARLOW ROAD
THE COLUMBIA RIVER HIGHWAY
WILDFLOWERS and WEED BLOSSOMS



*River Miles [RM] are approximate, in statute miles, and were determined from USGS topo maps, obtained from NOAA nautical charts, or obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website, 2003

Sources:    Lyman, W.D., 1909, The Columbia River, Its History, Its Myths, Its Scenery, Its Commerce: G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York;    McArthur, L.A., and McArthur, L.L., 2004, Oregon Geographic Names, Oregon Historical Society Press, Portland;    NOAA Office of Coast Surveys website, U.S. Coast Pilot, 1889;   

All Lewis and Clark quotations from Gary Moulton editions of the Lewis and Clark Journals, University of Nebraska Press, all attempts have been made to type the quotations exactly as in the Moulton editions, however typing errors introduced by this web author cannot be ruled out; location interpretation from variety of sources, including this website author.
/Regions/Places/tillamook_head.html
© 2017, Lyn Topinka, "ColumbiaRiverImages.com", All rights reserved.
Images are NOT to be downloaded from this website.
July 2013