Oregon is known to amaze the world with its beautiful state parks. But when it comes to natural beauty, camping, accessible trails, and incredible history, Fort Stevens State Park is the way. It is a unique travel destination for every outdoor lover, regardless of age and interests. Located on the northwest side of Oregon, at the mouth of the Columbia River, this beautiful park has a lot to offer travelers for a week or two. One of the main attractions here is the Ancient Shipwreck, Peter Iredale. Exploring the most iconic shipwreck on the Coast side of Oregon is both eerie and fascinating. Every traveler should visit Fort Stevens for a glimpse at the ancient Shipwreck.
Visiting The Peter Iredale Shipwreck
This ancient shipwreck is located just away from Fort Stevens State Park's parking area, on Clatsop Beach, another gorgeous spot visitors can explore! Want to experience some local Oregon history or wander along the beach? The good news is – visitors don't have to trek for miles to access the shipwreck. The eerie atmosphere at the beach keeps one warm, and it's an ideal place to have a holiday vacation with kids.
- Tip: The beach's sand is beautiful but chilly. Bring sandals! Also, pack sunglasses, lip balm, and sunscreen for protection from the sun.
Visitors need to buy parking permits online and can use them in all the state parks in Oregon. Those spending at the Oregon State Park will have their permit included in the camping fee.
- Cost: $5 a day, $30 a year, and $50 lasts a year.
- Tip: Visitors planning to explore multiple parks should go for an annual pass.
The History of the Peter Iredale Shipwreck
The shipwreck was a four mastered sailing vessel, owned by Iredale and Porter, a shipping company in Britain. It was built in 1890 and ran ashore in 1906. On September 26, 1906, the vessel went on a journey to Portland from Salina Cruz, Mexico to pick up cargo for the UK. The ship reached safely the mouth of the Columbia River on the morning of October 25. Heavy wind and strong current prevailed, as the crew together with the ship’s captain, H. Lawrence waited for the pilot to arrive.
The sudden disastrous event moved the vessel away from the shore. Before it could be turned around, it was already in breakers and any efforts to keep it off went in vain. The ship got stuck at Clatsop Beach and that's when the captain ordered to have the ship abandoned. The crew was stranded as a result of the event, but no one got hurt, fortunately. A lifesaving team from Point Adams managed to safely save all the twenty-seven members of the crew to the shores of the beach, although the operation was dangerous.
The then Ship’s captain saluted the beached vessel saying, “May God bless you and may your bones bleach in these sands.” The news about the event spread, and the British Naval Court launched an investigation. The court found out that the strong wind and currents that prevailed caused the shipwreck, and uplifted the blame from the crew.
The ships remain, now the wreck of the Peter Iredale, then became an iconic tourism attraction. It's been at this spot, slowly decaying for more than a century.
The ship is a Major Tourist Attraction
Just one day after the ship ran ashore, it immediately became a major attraction, and people flocked to the scene to experience what happened. Despite the raging storm, people couldn't stop making it to the shipwreck. Even though it has stayed there for over a century, it still attracts visitors and is one of the most photographed shipwrecks in the world.
When to Explore this Busy Attraction
Being easily accessible, visitors flock to the area from time to time, making it an extremely busy attraction, especially during the day. The best time to enjoy the attraction is very early in the morning and during sunset.
The level of tides and how closely one wants to get will determine when to visit because the main attraction here is seated in the middle of the beach. Travelers looking to reach the remains and maybe climb it must check the tide charts and ensure they are wandering at low tide. Although water surrounds the shipwreck at high tides, and visitors can't get too close, the beach still deserves an exploration (it’s a perfect time for a picnic at the beach).
Once done exploring the wreck, visitors can engage in another enjoyable activity; searching for sand dollars. These animals are fun to watch. Their body color range between deep brown and red-purple when alive, and turns silvery-white after they die (of course, the sun's burning effect makes the original color fade).
The Peter Iredale Shipwreck is a fascinating attraction that every traveler should get a chance to explore. You can view the shipwreck, wander around the beach, and play with the sand.