The Volcanoes of Lewis and Clark
April 12, 1806
Columbia River Gorge - "Lower Falls of the Columbia" - Cascade Locks
The Volcanoes of Lewis and Clark
Map of the Journey
Volcanoes, Basalt Plateaus, Major Rivers, etc.
Mount Adams, Mount Hood, Mount Jefferson, Mount Rainier, and Mount St. Helens
CALENDAR of the Journey
October 1805 to June 1806
Along the Journey
Pacific Northwest Maps - Columbia River, Volcanoes, Flood Basalts, Missoula Floods, Geology, etc.
The Corps of Discovery
The Journey of Lewis and Clark
About the Reference Materials
The Journals, Biddle/Allen, DeVoto, Gass, Moulton, Topo Maps, and others
USGS Lewis and Clark Links
Links to USGS Websites highlighting the Lewis and Clark Journey
Publications Referenced and Websites Visited
Columbia River Gorge, Bonneville Vicinity
Columbia River Gorge,
"Lower Falls of the Columbia" - Cascade Locks
Bonneville Dam, "Lower Falls of the Columbia" and the Cascade Locks, and the Bridge of the Gods
Columbia River Gorge, Cascade Locks to Dog Mountain
On October 7, 1805, Lewis and Clark and the
"Corps of Discovery" began their journey
down the Clearwater River and into the volcanics
of the Pacific Northwest. The Corps travelled from the
Clearwater to the Snake and down the
"Great Columbia", finally reaching the
Pacific Ocean on November 15, 1805.
Along the journey they encountered the
lava flows of the Columbia Plateau,
river channels carved by the great "Missoula Floods",
and the awesome beauty of five Cascade Range volcanoes.
[Click map for brief summary about the area]
Heading for Home - April 1806
Columbia River Gorge - Cascade Locks Vicinity
|Lewis and Clark's camp of April 10 and April 11, 1806, was on the Washington side of the Columbia River, at a location now above the Bonneville Dam.|
|Saturday, April 12, 1806|
|The rain continued all night and this morning. Captain Lewis now took with him all the men fit for duty, and began to drag the remaining periogue over the rapids. This has become much more difficult than when we passed in the autumn; at that time there were in the whole distance of seven miles only three difficult points; but the water is now very considerably higher, and during all that distance the ascent is exceedingly laborious and dangerous, nor would it be practicable to descend, except by letting down the empty boats by means of ropes. The route over this part, from the head to the foot of the portage, is about three miles: the canoes which had been already dragged up were very much injured, by being driven against the rocks, which no precautions could prevent.|
|This area was known as the "Lower Falls of the Columbia" and extended from the Bonneville Dam area to north of Cascade Locks, Oregon. In 1896 the Federal Government built a series of locks around the rapids and in 1926 the Bridge of the Gods was built spanning the area.|
Bonneville Lock and Dam and Lake Bonneville are in the Columbia River Gorge, one of the most scenic areas in the Pacific Northwest. The walls of the gorge rise 2,000 feet above Lake Bonneville in many places and can be seen from any of the 10 recreation areas around the reservoir. Bonneville Dam spans the Columbia River from Oregon to Washington, a distance of 1,100 feet. Bradford Island, an old Indian burial ground separating the river's two channels, is at the center of the mammoth barrier. Bonneville Dam was begun in 1933 and completed in 1938, and was the first of the major power dams on the Columbia. The dam is a 1,230-foot-long gravity-type, concrete spillway dam across the center channel of the Columbia River and measures 180 feet wide at its base. It has two 350-ton gantry cranes which operate from a service roadway 99 feet above the water, to regulate the 18 movable-crest steel gates. The project required 750,000 cubic of concrete. It cost $88.4 million to build the spillway dam on one side of Bradford Island, a powerhouse, and navigation locks on the other side of the island. The Bonneville Power Administration added a second powerhouse in the 1980s and dug a channel through Bradford Island. Bonneville Dam was named for Captain Benjamin de Bonneville. -- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Website, 2004, Oregon State Archives Website, 2002, and Center for Columbia River History Website, 2004
"Lower Falls of the Columbia" and Cascade Locks:
Lewis and Clark called the area around today's Cascades Locks "the Lower Falls of the Columbia" -- the Celilo Falls area was known as the "Great Falls of the Columbia". Throughout time, the area became known as the "Cascades", and in 1825, John Work of the Hudson's Bay Company was the first to record the place name, "Cascades," to describe these falls in the Columbia. Four and a half miles long, the Cascades of the Columbia were separated into two sections. The first made a bend around a rocky point on the Oregon shore, then went into a 2,000-foot-long pitch in the river and a 21-foot drop. This was called the Upper Cascade. The rest of the contracted waterway, the Lower Cascade, was a long three-and-a-half-mile pitch in the river. The total fall of the river from the head of Upper Cascade to the bottom of Lower Cascade was 45 feet at high water and 36 feet at low water. Lewis and Clark first portaged around the "Lower Falls of the Columbia" in 1805, on their journey to the Pacific. Forty years later the pioneers traveling the water route on the Oregon Trail made the same portage. In 1850 a road was built on the north side of the Columbia to portage around the rapids, and a small settlement developed to help travelers around the rapids, first by foot and then by mule-drawn rail cars. In 1864, the first steam engine in the Northwest carried passengers and freight past the rapids. In 1896 a 3,000-foot-long navigational canal with locks was completed and the modern-day town of Cascade Locks developed. The Cascades and the early locks were flooded by backwater from Bonneville Dam in 1937. -- "www.cascadelocks.net" Website, 2004, and Washington State Historical Society Website, 2004, "Lasting Legacy".
Bridge of the Gods:
About 1100 A.D., the lava layers making up Table Mountain slid into the Gorge in a series of four landslides covering five square miles, and temporarily blocked the Columbia River. Native American legend tells of crossing the river on dry land, giving rise to the "Bridge of the Gods". Today's man-made Bridge of the Gods was completed in October 1926. The cantilever structure length is 1,131 feet long with overall bridge length of 1,858 feet. Its width is 35 feet. The bridge was raised in 1938 to accomodate the rising waters behind the Bonneville Dam, and today rises 135 feet above the Bonneville pool. In 1961 the Bridge of the Gods was purchased by the Port of Cascade Locks and has been operated and maintained by the Port since that time. The Bridge of the Gods is the third oldest bridge on the Columbia River and plays a major role in the Pacific Crest Trail by linking Oregon and Washington states. -- "www.cascadelocks.net" Website, 2004, and Swanson, et.al., 1989.
|This morning as we were drawing the fifth canoe round a projecting rock, against which the current sets with great violence, she unfortunately offered too much of her side to the stream. It then drove her with such force, that with all the exertions of the party we were unable to hold her, and were forced to let go the cord, and see her drift down the stream, and be irrecoverably lost. We then began to carry our effects across the portage, but as all those who had short rifles took them in order to repel any attack from the Indians, it was not until five o'clock in the afternoon that the last of the party reached the head of the rapids, accompanied by our new friend the Wahclellah chief. The afternoon being so far advanced, and the weather rainy and cold, we determined to halt for the night, though very desirous of going on, for during the three last days we have not advanced more than seven miles. The portage is two thousand eight hundred yards, along a narrow road, at all times rough, and now rendered slippery by the rain. ......|
The Camp - April 12, 1806:
Washington side of the Columbia River, above the Cascade Locks.
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09/20/04, Lyn Topinka