Dismal Nitch

wide river with wooden pilings sticking out of the water

Quick Facts

Benches/Seating, Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits, Restroom, Scenic View/Photo Spot

Dismal Nitch is a High Potential Historic Site on the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.

As the expedition neared the Pacific Ocean, conditions on the Columbia River worsened. Clark wrote that on November 10, 1805, “the wind rose from the N. W. and the waves became So high that we were com­pelled to return about 2 miles to a place we Could unload our Canoes, which we did in a Small nitch at the mouth of a Small run on a pile of drift logs.” The weather pinned them in place for five days. Clark described “wind verry high […] with most tremendious waves brakeing with great violence against the Shores, rain falling in torrents, we are all wet as usial and our Situation is truly a disagreeable one; the great quantites of rain which has loosened the Stones on the hill Sides, and the Small Stones fall down upon us, our canoes at one place at the mercy of the waves, our baggage in another and our Selves and party Scattered on floating logs and Such dry Spots as can be found on the hill Sides, and Crivices of the rocks.” On November 14, Lewis decided to proceed onward by land with an advance party, and the next day the weather cleared enough for the rest to load the canoes “in great haste and Set Out, from this dismal nitich where we have been confined…”

The probable location for Dismal Nitch is directly northwest of the Megler Rest Area on US Highway 101. Interpretive wayside exhibits are installed at the rest area, and a short trail leads to an area that commemo­rates the site. It is managed as part of the Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Parks.

Lewis and Clark NHT Visitor Centers and Museums

Visitor Centers and Museums along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail

Last updated: December 10, 2020