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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Bingen Gap, Washington"
Includes ... Bingen Gap ... Bingen ... Bingen Anticline ... "Coyote Wall" ... Straight Point ... Locke Lake ...
Image, 2015, Coyote Wall, Washington State Highway 14, Bingen, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Coyote Wall, Bingen Gap basalts, Bingen, Washington. Washington State Highway 14 in the foreground. Image taken February 23, 2015.


Bingen Gap ...
The Bingen Gap is an approximately four-mile constriction of the Columbia River located just upstream of Hood River, Oregon and Bingen, Washington. The gap is a large anticline/syncline feature of Columbia River Basalt through which the Columbia River carved its channel. The Oregon side of the Bingen Gap stretches from the Oregon communities of Hood River upstream to Mosier and the Washington side stretches from approximately the community of Bingen to the Coyote Wall.

Missoula Floods ...
The constriction of the Bingen Gap backed up the waters of the Missoula Floods. Flood waters approximately reached 950 feet at this point.
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Lewis and Clark and the Bingen Gap ...
Lewis and Clark passed through the Bingen Gap on October 29, 1805, and then again when they return on April 14, 1806.

"... miles to a high Clift of rocks Std bend ..." [Clark, October 29, 1805, first draft]

"... I joined Capt Lewis and the party at 6 miles, at which place the river washed the bottom of high Clifts on the N. Side. ..." [Clark, April 14, 1806]

Early Bingen Gap ...
The U.S. Board of Geographic Names made the name "Bingen Gap" official in 1966, and states the Gap is four miles long by one mile wide.

Bingen Anticline ...
The Bingen Anticline is a highpoint in the anticline/syncline geological fold system in this area, and is bordered on the west by the Hood River - White Salmon River Syncline and on the east by the Mosier Syncline. The Bingen Gap is where the Columbia River carved a channel through the Bingen Anticline.
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Image, 2006, Hood River, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Columbia River looking upstream towards Hood River, Oregon. View from the Cook-Underwood Road, Washington. Image taken May 10, 2006.
The Hood River - White Salmon River Syncline (valley) runs left-to-right through the middle of this image, with the Bingen Anticline (ridge) rising behind it. The Bingen Gap is where the Columbia River carved its channel through the Bingen Anticline. The Rowena basalts can be seen in the distance through the Bingen Gap. In this image the White Salmon River is at the middle left edge of the image.
Image, 2005, Bingen Anticline, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Bingen Anticline, as seen from Mosier, Oregon. Image taken September 18, 2005.


Coyote Wall, Straight Point, and Locke Lake ...
On the Washington State side of the Bingen Gap is the "Coyote Wall", a steep massive basalt cliff, rising to 1,800 feet. At the toe of the Coyote Wall is a small cape known as "Straight Point" and is located at Columbia River Mile (RM) 175. Straight Point is where the Coyote Wall meets the Columbia River. Nestled in on the west side of Coyote Wall and Straight Point is Locke Lake.
[More]

Image, 2015, Coyote Wall, Washington State Highway 14, Bingen, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Coyote Wall, Bingen Gap basalts, Bingen, Washington. Image taken February 23, 2015.
Image, 2015, Locke Lake from Washington State Route 14, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Locke Lake as seen from Washington State Route 14. View from moving car heading west. Image taken September 26, 2015.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, October 29, 1805, first draft ...
a Cloudy morning wind Still from th West not hard, we Set out at day light [from their camp on Rocky Island at Crates Point] proceeded on about 5 miles and Came too at a Lodge of a Chief which we made at the upper village at th falls about his house there is Six others ...    

N. 55 W. 4 miles
to a Lard. point, pasd a run on Lard Side West 8 miles to Rock Island near the middle of River passed 7 Houses of Indians about 50 men at 1 mile on the Stard Side. Brakfast Those people fish at the last narrows, & have but little pounded fish, Som dried and buries

Those people are friendly gave us to eate fish Beries, nuts bread of roots & Drid beries and we Call this the friendly Village [Dougs Beach] ...    

at 4 miles further we landed to Smoke a pipe with the people of a village of 11 houses [Lyle, Washington area] we found those people also friendly Their Village is Situated imediately below the mouth of a River [Klickitat River] of 60 yards water which falls in on the Stard. Side and heads in the mountains to the N. & N, E, the Indians inform us that this river is long <but> and full of falls no Salmon pass up it. They also inform that 10 nations lives on this river by hunting and on buries &c. The Countrey begin to be thinly timbered with Pine & low white oake verry rocky and hilley- We purchased at this vilg 4 dogs- at the end of this Course is 3 rocks, in the river and a rock point from the Lard. the middle rock is large and has a number of graves on it we call it the Sepulchar Island [Memaloose Island].     The last River we call Caterack River [Klickitat River] from the number of falls which the Indians inform is on it The Indians are afraid to hunt or be on th Lard Side of this Columbia river for fear of the Snake Ind. who reside on a fork of this river which falls in above the falls a good Situaion for winter quarters if game can be had is just below Sepulchar rock [Memaloose Island] on the Lard Side, high & pine and oake timber the rocks ruged above, good hunting Countrey back, as it appears from the river Indian village opsd. of 2 Lodgs     river 1/2 mile wide at rocks

S. 60 W. 5 miles
to a point of rocks Island in a Lard bend, passed 2 rocks in the river-     passed 2 Houses at 1 mile on the Stard Side and 2 at 4 miles on the Stard. Side     Countrey on the Lard. Side has more timber than common and looks well for huntg.     high and ruged.-

S. 80 W. 6 miles
to 4 Houses in a point of a timbered bottom on the Lard. Side at a large creek or River 40 yr. [Hood River]     passed a bottom on the Stard Side the distance in which there is 14 Indian houses-     The falls mountain covered with Snow is South [Mount Hood]

S. 70 W. 6 miles
to a high Clift of rocks Std bend [Bingen area] passed a large creek at 1 mile on the Stard. Side [White Salmon River] in which the Indians catch fish, a large Sand bar from the Lard. Side for 4 miles [below Hood River], at which place a small stream of water falls over a rock of 100 feet on the Lard Side [Wah Gwin Gwin Falls, the location of today's Columbia Gorge Hotel]     passed 4 Indian Houses at 5 miles in a bottom on the Lard Side ...

S. 56 W. 6 miles
to a point of timbr. bottom on the Lard. Side, passd. a Stard. point at 2 miles Here the mountains are high on each Side, the high points of those to the Lard. has Snow

Came too at 3 miles on this Course at 3 Houses of flatheads and Encamped on the Stard. Side [near Drano Lake and the Little White Salmon River], a Pond lies back of those people in which we Saw great numbers of the Small Swan ...






Clark, April 14, 1806 ...
This morning at 7 oClock we were joined by Sgt. Pryor and they three hunters they brought with them 4 deer which drewyer had killed yesterday. we took brackfast and departed at 9 A. M. [from their camp near Dog Mountain]     the wind rose and <proceeded on> Continued to blow hard all day but not so violent as to prevent our proceeding. we kept Close allong the N. Shore all day. the river from the rapids [Cascade Rapids] to the Commencement of the narrows [The Dalles] is from to of a Mile in wedth, and possesses but little Current. the bead is rock except at the enterence of Labiech's river [Hood River] which heads in Mt. Hood [Mount Hood, Oregon] and like the quick Sand River [Sandy River] brings down from thence Vast bodies of Sand     the Mountains through which the river passes nearly to Cataract River [Klickitat River] are high broken rocky, particularly Covered with fir and white Cedar, and in maney places very romantic scences. Some handsom Cascades are Seen on either Side tumbling from the Stupendious rocks of the mountains into the river. I observe near the river the long leafed Pine which increas as we assend and Superseeds the fir altogether about the Sepulchre rock [Memaloose Island]. We find the trunks of maney large pine trees Standing erect as they grew, at present in 30 feet water [Submerged Forest]; they are much doated and none of them vegitateing. at the lowest water of the river maney of those trees are in 10 feet water. the Cause I have attempted to account for as I decended.     at 1 P M. we arrived at a large village Situated in a narrow <village> bottom on the N. Side [between the White Salmon River and Bingen, Washington] a little above the enterance of Canoe Creek [White Salmon River]. their houses are reather detached, and extend for Several Miles. they are about 20 in number. those people Call themselves Wil-la-cum. ...     We halted at this village Dined ...     after dinner we proceeded on our voyage. I walked on Shore with Shabono on the N. Side through a handsom bottom [Bingen area].     met Several parties of women and boys in Serch of herbs & roots to Subsist on maney of them had parcels of the Stems of the Sun flower. I joined Capt Lewis and the party at 6 miles, at which place the river washed the bottom of high Clifts on the N. Side [Bingen Gap]. Several Canoes over take us with families moveing up. we passed 3 encampments and came too in the mouth of a Small Creek [Major Creek] on the N. Side imediately below a village and opposit the Sepulchar rock [Memaloose Island]. this village Consists of about 100 fighting men of Several tibres from the plains to the North Collected here waiting for the Salmon. ...     made [blank] miles





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*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

Sources:    See Bingen;

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.
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June 2016