Obviously walking along the Columbia River is going to be amazing, and you might be pleasantly surprised to find just how nice it is along the Washington side at the Vancouver Waterfront. You can walk along the river and watch the boats, the birds, the planes and the people. The path is wide and easy to walk on and in some sections, you’re right at the river. There are sections where you can bring a lunch and a book and just sit and enjoy the sun. There is a very cool statue of Ilchee, the daughter of powerful Chinook Chief Comcomly, the “one-eyed chief”.
In 1811, she married Duncan McDougal of John Jacob Astor’s Pacific Fur Company, in the first marriage in Astoria. Two years later McDougal took off after Astoria was turned over to the British. Ilchee went to Fort Vancouver and married Chief Casino, the successor to her father. The plaza at the Waterfront where she kneels is meant to honor the Chinook people. The statue of Ilchee, who is also known as Moon Woman, is pointed west over the Columbia River, to where her family lived along the Washington coast.
Another note for those who like history tidbits…the Waterfront trail runs between two parks, Esther Short Park and Wintler Community Park. Esther Short Park, which is full of tall cedars and giant sequoias, is the oldest public space in the Pacific Northwest. Esther Short was the wife of early American pioneer Amos Short, who was drowned when his ship went down at the Columbia Bar. The Shorts were constantly at odds with the British authorities at Fort Vancouver, who tried to evict them multiple times in order to dilute American claims to the area. There is a statue in her honor on 8th Street, labeled “pioneer mother”.
This is a great morning walk to get your steps in, or to take the family for a stroll. You could just go for lunch or coffee like we did and then walk it off along the riverfront. There is outdoor seating at seafood restaurant Wildfin, and even a Maryhill Winery wine tasting room.