Location: Naselle, Washington
Type: Rest Area
Access: Highway 401
Elevation: -6 Feet
Road Conditions: Paved Road
Phone Coverage: Verizon 2/5 (Slow); AT&T 2/5 (No Data)
Length of Stay: 8 Hours
Amenities: Picnic tables, informational signs, restrooms, trash cans
Dismal Nitch Rest Area is a roadside rest area along the Columbia River approximately one mile from the Astoria-Megler Bridge. The site allows overnight parking with a posted time limit of eight hours. Tents and “campsites” are not allowed.
This is a basic, roadside rest area. The site offers public restrooms, trash cans, picnic tables, and informational signs about the local history.
The rest area was created in the late 1960s following demolition of the old ferry landing. Initially known as Megler Rest Area, it was later renamed “Dismal Nitch Rest Area” in memory of the Lewis & Clark Corps of Discovery which was stranded at the site during a storm in 1805. Captain William Clark, in his journal, referred to the cove where they sheltered as “that dismal little nitch.”
Cell service is limited. Verizon had two “bars” when I visited in 2019, with a download speed of 13.7 Mbps, upload speed of 1.5 Mbps, and a ping speed of 104 ms. AT&T indicated 2-3 “bars” of signal strength, but had no data service at all.
Dismal Nitch Rest Area is located along Highway 401 approximate one mile northeast of the Astoria-Megler Bridge.