The geographic places we now know as Port Townsend and Jefferson County have a rich history characterized by thousands of years of Indigenous settlement. It’s important to learn directly from tribal communities about the rich and diverse histories as well as contemporary identities of Native peoples in this place.
For visitors, an easily-accessible journey through history is The čičməhán Trail (Cheech-ma-han). Developed by the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, the intent of the čičməhán Trail is to educate the public on the relationship between the S’Klallam people who had lived for hundreds of years at this place, that they called “qatáy” and the European settlers who arrived in Port Townsend in the mid-19th century, intent on making it a key port of trade in the Northwest.
The Trail is comprised of 18 sites throughout Port Townsend, which naturally divide into 3-mile, 6-mile, or 12-mile loops. The 3-mile loop focuses on downtown historical sites; the 6-mile loop extends west to Laurel Grove Cemetery; and the 12-mile loop goes all the way out to North Beach and Fort Worden. All loops contain elevation changes, with some steep uphill and downhill grades. Each sign on the trail tells a small part of the story of historic and modern-day S’Klallam people.