Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Biddle Butte (Mount Zion), Washington"
Includes ... Biddle Butte ... Mount Zion ... "Cape Horn Mountain" ...
Image, 2003, Mount Zion, Washington, from Rooster Rock, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Biddle Butte, Washington, from Rooster Rock State Park, Oregon. Columbia River and mudflats below Rooster Rock are in the foreground. Image taken October 18, 2003.

Biddle Butte (Mount Zion) ...
Biddle Butte (also known as Mount Zion) is a small 1,368-feet-high Boring Lava cone located in Skamania County, Washington, at Columbia River Mile (RM) 132, two miles west of Prindle and ten miles east of Washougal. Upstream is located Beacon Rock. The Butte was named for Henry J. Biddle, an early conservationist of the Gorge.

"... Biddle's main concern was for the preservation of Beacon Rock and the Hamilton Mountain area, plus a nearby butte that became known as Biddle Butte. He bought these properties prior to 1920, built trails and picnic areas and maintained them all as public parks. He changed the name of the huge monolith known at the time as Castle Rock back to Beacon Rock, as it had been called by Lewis and Clark. Biddle also succeeded in building a trail to the top of Beacon Rock, an amazing engineering feat, finishing the task in 1918. This trail still is enjoyed by thousands of hikers each year ..." ["Columbian.com" website, 2006, "History"]

Biddle Butte looms over the basalt cliffs of Cape Horn. An early name for Biddle Butte was "Cape Horn Mountain". Good views of Biddle Butte can be had from across the river at Rooster Rock State Park and from the Bridal Veil Overlook.

Boring Lava Cone ...
Biddle Butte (Mount Zion) is a small olivine Boring Lava Field shield volcano that postdates the Troutdale Formation. A small basaltic-andesite intracanyon flow can be seen emanating from Biddle Butte. Biddle Butte lava caps the Cape Horn basalts. Similar Boring Lava vents in the Portland, Oregon, area are inferred to be less than 730,000 years old.

Early Biddle Butte ...
An 1860 cadastral survey (tax survey) for T10N R5E shows today's Biddle Butte being called "Cape Horn Mountain".

The 1911 U.S. Geological Survey's topographic map "Mount Hood and Vicinity, Oreg.-Wash.", 1:125,000, shows the name "Mt. Zion", with an elevation of 1,458 feet.

The 1948 and 1966 NOAA chart #6156, "Columbia River, Vancouver to Bonneville" and the 1985 chart #18531, "Columbia River, Vancouver to Bonneville", shows "Mt. Zion", with an elevation of 1,458 feet.

The U.S. Board of Geographic Names made "Biddle Butte" the official name in 1989.

Views ...

Image, 2004, Mount Zion, Washington, from Bridal Veil, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Cape Horn, Washington, with Biddle Butte above, from Bridal Veil Overlook, Bridal Veil, Oregon. Image taken October 11, 2004.
Image, 2004, Rooster Rock State Park from Crown Point, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Mount Pleasant, Biddle Butte, Cape Horn, and Rooster Rock State Park as seen from Crown Point, Oregon. Washington State's Cape Horn (cliff face bordering river) is in the background along with Mount Pleasant (the rounded Boring Lava hill on the left) and Biddle Butte (a small Boring Lava cone rising above Cape Horn in upper middle of image). Rooster Rock State Park, Oregon, is in the middleground. Beacon Rock is in the distance upper right. Image taken October 11, 2004.
Image, 2016, Biddle Butte, Washington, from The Summit, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Biddle Butte, Washington, as seen from The Summit, Historic Columbia River Highway, Oregon. Image taken March 17, 2016.

From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, ...

Columbia River GorgeReturn to

*River Miles [RM] are approximate, in statute miles, and were determined from USGS topo maps, obtained from NOAA nautical charts, or obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website, 2003

  • Beeson and Tolan, 1987, IN: GSA Centennial Field Guide, Vol.1;
  • "Columbian.com" website, 2006, "History";
  • Hitchman, R., 1985, Place Names of Washington, Washington State Historical Society;
  • Norman, D.K., and Roloff, J.M., 2004, A Self-Guided Tour of the Geology of the Columbia River Gorge -- Portland Airport to Skamania Lodge, Stevenson, Washington: Washington Division of Geology and Earth Resources, Open-File Report 2004-7, March 2004.
  • NOAA Office of Chart Surveys website, 2006;
  • Oregon Bureau of Land Management Website, 2005;
  • University of Washington/Washington State University Digital Libraries Digital Map Collection website, 2006;
  • U.S. Geological Survey's Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) database, 2006;

All Lewis and Clark quotations from Gary Moulton editions of the Lewis and Clark Journals, University of Nebraska Press, all attempts have been made to type the quotations exactly as in the Moulton editions, however typing errors introduced by this web author cannot be ruled out; location interpretation from variety of sources, including this website author.
May 2009