About This Place
Cannon Beach is a city in Clatsop County, Oregon, United States. The population was 1,588 at the 2000 census. The 2007 estimate is 1,680 residents.
The first recorded White journey to what is now Cannon Beach was made by William Clark, one of the leaders of the Lewis and Clark Expedition in early 1806. The expedition was wintering at Fort Clatsop, roughly 20 miles to the north near the mouth of the Columbia River. In December 1805, two members of the expedition had returned to camp with blubber from a whale that had beached several miles south, near the mouth of what is now known as Ecola Creek. Knowing that the expedition needed some variety in their monotonous winter diet, Clark decided to journey south from Fort Clatsop over Tillamook Head, which he described in his journal as "the Steepest worst and highest mountain I ever assended [sic]…". From a place near the western cliffs of the headland he saw "…the grandest and most pleasing prospects which my eyes ever surveyed, in front of a boundless Ocean…" That viewpoint is now called Clark's Point of View and can be accessed by a hiking trail from Indian Beach in Ecola State Park.
Clark and about 14 of his companions, including Sacagawea completed the 3 day journey on January 10, 1806, where they found the flensed skeleton of a 105-foot whale on the beach and the Tillamook (Nehalem) Indians busily boiling blubber for storage. Clark's measurement of the whale skeleton is considered accurate, since he was a professional surveyor, thus it is likely the carcass was that of a blue whale, judging by its size. Clark and his party bartered for 300 pounds (140 kg) of blubber and some whale oil and returned to Fort Clatsop.