County Offices
312 SW 1st Avenue
Kelso 360-577-3016

Chamber of Commerce
1563 Olympia Way
Longview 360-423-8400

Cowlitz is a county located in the southwest corner of the state of Washington. It forms the Longview, Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area which encompasses all of Cowlitz County. The county seat is the city of Kelso, and its largest city is Longview. The county was formed on April 21, 1854. The area is a very scenic portion of the state, situated at the meeting point of three rivers (the Cowlitz, Coweeman and Columbia Rivers,) surrounded by mature green forests and tall white capped mountains, with opportunities for year-round recreation drawing both visitors and residents.

Cowlitz County is home to approximately 100,000 residents. Roughly 56% of those live in the incorporated cities of Castle Rock, Kelso, Longview, Kalama, and Woodland. The remaining 44% live in rural, unincorporated communities such as Ryderwood, Toutle, Yale, Silver Lake, Lexington, Ariel and Cougar. The county was once known as the “Timber Capital of the World,” Cowlitz County is home to Douglas fir, hemlock and western cedar trees which dominate the landscape. The County still produces a great amount of timber and lumber for domestic and worldwide markets, but has become more diversified. Being located on major transportation corridors such as Interstate 5, the Columbia River and a major rail line have allowed Cowlitz County to stay connected to business around the globe. The port of Longview serves as a major transportation center for bulk goods of all types, the port is located in Longview and is a major employer in the region. More recently, the county has become known for its tourist attractions and tourism has become a dominant business for the area, thanks in large part to its proximity to Mt St. Helens. After the May 18, 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens Cowlitz County became the major access point for the millions of tourists and adventure seekers that visit the mountain each year.

The county offers its residents a complete choice in education with 6 major school districts located in the county. The county department of education is focused on the growth and future success of the enrolled students. For students of all ages looking for higher education, Lower Columbia Community College offers two-year programs in more than 50 areas of study.

Healthcare is well represented in the county with both the Kaiser Permanente medical facility and the PeaceHealth facilities located throughout the county offering everything from simple diagnosis to full surgical procedures and emergency care.

Wherever in the county residents choose to live – they will find everything they need close to home.


Castle Rock
City Offices

Chamber of Commerce

The City of Castle rock was founded in 1888 and in corporate in 1890. It is home to more than 2,100 people who enjoy and outstanding quality of life. The city is named after a large volcanic rock formation along the Cowlitz River which resembles an old castle which rises 200 feet above the surrounding area. Visitors and locals can hike to the top of the 200-foot formation along a trail that goes to the top. The City is nicknamed the “Gateway to Mount St. Helens,” and is situated between the Cowlitz River and Interstate 5. And it is a launching point for travelers looking to enter the Mount St. Helens area for recreation. Castle Rock provides a variety of activities for locals and visitors alike. It has a historic downtown district with unique shops, restaurants, antique stores, a hardware store, and a grocery store. In the uptown area you’ll find other service businesses, lodging and a movie theater.

In the busy summer months residents can enjoy several events as the city plays host to the Mountain Mania Festival, which focuses on the logging and outdoor history of the town. Castle Rock is also home to a great Riverfront Trail that offers miles of walking, jogging, and biking paths along the Cowlitz River. The path to Mount St Helens along the Spirit Lake Memorial Highway east out of Castle Rock and going just seven miles out of town is Silver Lake, a great recreational area. Continuing past Silver Lake, on the Spirit Lake highway, leads to the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.

Newcomers to the area will find an area deep in history that is home to a population of dedicated locals who are lucky enough to live in an region of great natural beauty.


City Offices

Chamber of Commerce

Kalama is located in Cowlitz County on the Columbia River north of Vancouver and south of Kelso and Longview. Kalama is a community of 1,700 that was founded in 1840. It is ideally located off Interstate 5, with the downtown on the eastside of the interstate and commercial and recreation sites on the west side. Kalama is a quiet community with a growing economic base. The historic downtown offers numerous antique shops and restaurants. And Kalama has one of the Northwest’s largest antique districts. Some of the attractions in the city include a large marina, a waterfront park, and a 140-foot totem pole that is the tallest one-piece totem in the world. During the mild summer months, anglers from all over the nation head to Kalama for its famous Chinook, steelhead, and sturgeon fishing. Locals use the summer to take to the waters of the Columbia and Kalama rivers for water sports, sailing, wind surfing, rafting and canoeing. The local community offers residents a lot of activities for both the young and young at heart, everything from youth soccer to Kalama Middle/High School sporting events and the annual holiday celebration, ‘Christmas in Kalama’. Kalama offers its residents and visitors a lot of options in a small town setting, while offering enough activities and nearby excitement to make it a great place to call home.


City Offices

Chamber of Commerce

Kelso is the county seat of Cowlitz County. It is located on Interstate 5 at the confluence of the Cowlitz, Coweeman and Columbia Rivers. Kelso is 48 miles north of Portland, 125 miles south of Seattle, and 80 miles east of the Pacific Ocean. Kelso is home to approximately 12,000 residents who take pride in their community and their rich heritage. Known as the “City of Friendly People,” Kelso is a growing community with a lot to offer residents and visitors alike. Kelso provides many opportunities for cultural enrichment. From theatres to public art and unique venues like the Kelso Theatre Pub offers an excellent venue for catching a movie and enjoying good food.  The community is also part of the gateway to Mount St. Helens, where more than a million visitors head each year to explore this historic location. Community recreation sites include Tam O’ Shanter Park, the Cowlitz Historical Museum, and the Three Rivers Golf Course, one of the driest courses in the Pacific Northwest. Kelso is also home to an airport serviced by charter flights and private jets. Nearby Longview also offers an added selection of recreational, shopping and dining opportunities. The area is attractive for all ages of people. Here you will find an emphasis on education, families, business development, natural resources and quality of life. Residents pride in the beauty of the areas parks, trees, rivers and surrounding forests is reflected in active community programs and service groups.


City Offices

Chamber of Commerce

Longview is ideally situated between Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon, offering residents a rural life-style with year-round opportunities for recreation. It is the largest city in Cowlitz County with a population of approximately 35,000.

The city is located in a scenic corner of SW Washington situated at the meeting of three rivers with a backdrop of green forests and white mountains, with opportunities for year-round recreation drawing both visitors and residents. The comfortable rural life style and small-town charm of the area is a combination of elegant residential areas and an active river front industry. The area is attractive for all ages of people with an emphasis on education, families, business development, natural resources and quality of life. Residents take great pride in the beauty of the areas parks, trees, rivers and surrounding forests and it is reflected in active community programs and service groups. The city parks and recreation department maintains over 400 acres of public parks at 21 locations.  This includes 21 softball, baseball and soccer sites featuring playground equipment for children. The city’s location also makes it an ideal base to explore the area, centrally located for both northern and southern routes to historic Mt St Helens.

The city has a strong economic base and a wide array of recreational, educational, and cultural offerings. Highlights include Lower Columbia College, the Columbia Theatre, Rose Center for the Arts, and a vibrant, historic downtown. Sport fishing is relished by many with boat launches provided on both the Cowlitz and Columbia Rivers for fishing. There are also two 18-hole public courses and two driving ranges in the area and a number of courses nearby, providing ample opportunity for golfers.  Lake Sacajawea in the center of Longview is the perfect opportunity for walking, jogging or biking.  With more than 3.5 miles of trails, this beautiful, peaceful setting is the ideal spot to take a picnic lunch and play.

Combining a strong link to its historic past and modern amenities, with natural beauty and economic strength makes Longview a wonderful place to call home.


City Offices

Chamber of Commerce

The City of Woodland, with a population of more than 5,000 residents, is located off Interstate 5, about 20 miles north of Vancouver; and 148 miles south of Seattle. Woodland is in both Cowlitz and Clark Counties.  Woodland is a thriving community situated along the Lewis River, a pristine stream fed by the glaciers of Mount St. Helens and its surrounding valleys. Woodlands is the southern gateway to Mount St. Helens, it provides excellent options for recreation, restaurants, and service accommodations. Activities enjoyed by residents and visitors alike, include hiking, sightseeing, and mountain biking in the nearby Lewis River Valley; fishing for salmon and steelhead on the north fork of the Lewis River; and golfing at the Lewis River Golf Course. The city is also home to the Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens which hosts a Lilac Festival each spring, as well as an annual Tulip Festival. Woodland is surrounded by the unsurpassed natural beauty that the region is known for. It offers residents the chance to live in a small town setting – where neighbors know each other – while also having access to some of the best outdoor recreation in the nation. Woodlands is a great place to call home.


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