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Home > History > Part 10: Lewis and Clark In Depth Tour - Fort Clatsop

Part 10: Lewis and Clark In Depth Tour - Fort Clatsop

This page contains a description of the winter of 1805-1806 at tiny Fort Clatsop.

Fort Clatsop

Fort Clatsop Replica near Astoria, Oregon

Fort Clatsop

A Cold, Wet, Dreary Winter

The winter of 1805-1806 was miserable in the Pacific Northwest. The men worked through a constant rain to build Fort Clatsop - two rough cabins about fifty feet in length that would hold 32 men, one woman, one baby and a dog. Lewis, Clark, Sacagawea, Charbonneau, and baby Jean Baptiste would stay in one cabin, while the remainder of the Corps lived in the other. The Corps stayed at Fort Clatsop for four months hunting the small elk population that lived near the estuary, making clothes from elk hide, trying desperately to make fires with wet wood, and engaging in laborious tasks to keep up the maintenance of the fort in the wake of constant wet conditions. According to one traveler, there were only twelve rainless days the entire winter! The constant rain led to many in the Corps to contract colds and flus and others, including Meriwether Lewis, to become depressed.

Final Documentation

Meriwether Lewis was, however, able to document the region’s plant and animal life as well as the Native Americans who lived there. William Clark worked on drafting the map of lands they had explored, including one that traced their path all of the way from Fort Mandan to Fort Clatsop, which would be valuable to future travelers.

On March 23, 1806, the Corps finally left Fort Clatsop for the long trip back to Missouri.

Lewis and Clark at Fort Clatsop

Did You Know?

Rainy Pacific Northwest


The region in which Lewis and Clark built Fort Clatsop is one of the rainiest places in North America. It receives over 85 inches of rainfall per year, nearly 2.5 times the national average.

Part 11: Return Trip

Lewis and Clark Adventure:

Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Into the Wild
Part 3: Teton Sioux Territory
Part 4: The Mandans
Part 5: Grizzly Country
Part 6: Great Falls of the Missouri River
Part 7: Shoshone Country
Part 8: The Bitterroots
Part 9: The Columbia River
Part 10: Fort Clatsop
Part 11: Return Trip


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