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  • camping (3)
  • museum (7)
  • bandb (10)
  • golf (2)
  • beach (6)

Washington State #409 Highway Guide

Miles Kms Item Summary
Junction of SR 4 (Mile Market 35.6) and SR 409
SR 409 runs from SR 4 through downtown Cathlamet and over a bridge to Puget Island. Then, SR 409 cuts across Puget Island ending at the Wahkiakum Ferry, which crosses the Columbia River to Westport, Oregon.
Wahkiakum County
The county is named after Chief Wakaiyakam of the Kathlamet Indian village that was near here. The Chief is buried in the Pioneer Cemetery. Wahkiakum means 'tall timber' in Chinook.
A Short History of Cathlamet
Cathlamet is the county seat of Wahkiakum County. The name comes from the Kathlamet Indians, a Chinook Tribe, and means 'stone.' It was given to the tribe because they lived along a stretch of rocky river bed. Lewis & Clark found the Kathlamet and Wahkiakum tribes living here during their Northwest Expedition in 1805. James Birnie of the Hudson Bay Company settled here in 1846, started a trading post, and named the area Birnie's Retreat. The name was changed to Cathlamet in 1851.
Wahkiakum County Historical Museum
From SR 4/Main Street, turn onto Butler Street, go 1 block, then turn left onto Division Street. Follow that street for 2 blocks and the museum is at the corner of Division and River Streets. Photos and exhibits of early day logging, fishing, and the pioneer way of life -- as well as information about local sites visited by Lewis & Clark. The museum is adjacent to Strong Park and the Waterfront Trail, overlooking the Elochoman Marina.
Elochoman Slough Marina
Nestled on the downriver side of Cathlamet, this is a full service marina. From SR 4/Main Street, turn onto Butler Street, go 1 block, turn right on Una Avenue and follow it down to the marina. In mid-July, the marina (and the town) play host to the Wooden Boat Festival, the Bald Eagle Festival, and an old-fashioned fireworks show.
Downtown Cathlamet
Cathlamet is a small, quaint town nestled on the banks of the Columbia River. The 3 block downtown area is great for walking. There are antique stores, gift shops, restaurants, historic buildings and homes, and beautiful views of the river and Puget Island.
Historic Elliot House
There are a number of historic homes within walking distance of Main Street in downtown Cathlamet. The home in the photo is located at 99 Main Street. The sculpture in the front of the home is of 'Totem' - one of the early ferries on the river - built by the local high school metal working class.
Pioneer Church - Built in 1895
This church, formerly the Congregational Church, is a Cathlamet landmark. It is located at 320 South First Street and is built into a rock outcropping that overlooks the village. The Pioneer Church Association hosts a number of local events, among them the Annual Quilt Show over Labor Day Weekend.
Pioneer Cemetery
From SR 409/Main Street, turn onto Columbia Street, go 2 blocks, turn left on Maple Street. Go 2 blocks to Third Street and walk across the school parking area, past the ball field, to the Pioneer Cemetery. Many of Cathlamet's prominent pioneers are buried here. Look for the graves of Chief Wahkiakum and James Birnie.
Visit Sites Where Movies Were Made!
At least 2 movies were made in Cathlamet: Men of Honor (2000) and Snow Falling on Cedars (1999). Both sites are marked. From SR 4/Main Street, turn down toward the river onto Broadway and walk to the dock. You'll see the signs about the movies on the buildings in that area.
Bridge to Puget Island
Follow SR 4 along Main Street that turns onto Front Street. The road winds around, hugging the tall cliffs as it approaches the bridge to Puget Island. There's a walkway on the bridge to take for some fantastic views of the river.
Puget Island
Puget Island was discovered in 1792 by Lt. W. R. Broughton and named after is friend, Lt. Peter Puget. Puget Sound, in the Seattle area, is also named after Lt. Puget.
Step Back in Time to the Days of Dairy Farms and Fishing
Puget Island is actually 2 islands connected by a bridge. Settled by Scandinavians in 1884, it is sometimes called 'Little Norway.' This quaint island is perfectly flat, so the 27 miles of roads are excellent for bicycling, walking, and touring with picturesque views of historic churches, beautiful old barns, boat moorages, and several working dairy farms.
Enjoy the Scenery and Wildlife on Puget Island
There's lots of wildlife and beautiful scenery on Puget Island. The White Tail Deer are protected and live here, plus you may see a bald eagle, osprey, and many other birds. The Robert W. Little Nature Conservancy Preserve is also here, on the down river end of the island.
Stay Overnight Across from the Robert W. Little Nature Conservancy Preserve
The Robert W. Little Nature Conservancy Preserve is at the corner of Crossdike Road and Ostervold Road, about 2.4 miles from SR 409. The Redfern Farm BnB and the Columbia RiverFront FarmHouse vacation home offer lodging near the Nature Preserve and also within view of the Columbia River shipping channel - great for birders and wildlife enthusiasts!
Island Market and Gas Station
Yes, Puget Island has its own gas station and a fantastic market offering fresh cut deli meats! Stop by and take a closer look at this map of Puget Island before you start driving around the island.
Our Saviour's Lutheran Church
There are several old churches on Puget Island. This is one of them.
Ferry to Oregon
This is the last Washington state ferry operating on the Lower Columbia River. It connects Puget Island (and Cathlamet) to Westport, Oregon. It's a short 10-minute ride across the mighty Columbia River shipping channel -- make sure it's on your 'must do' list.