Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Deep River, Washington"
Includes ... Deep River ... Deep River (town) ... "Ela-be-kail" ... "Almient River" ... "Alamicut River" ...
Image, 2004, Deep River, Washington, looking downstream, at mouth, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Deep River, Washington, near mouth looking downstream. From Oneida Access boat launch, 3 miles upstream of the mouth. Image taken April 9, 2004.

Deep River ...
Deep River is located on the Washington shore of the Columbia River, two miles downstream of Grays River, at Columbia River Mile (RM) 21. Like Grays River, Deep River empties into Grays Bay. Miller Point separates the two. The lower channel of Deep River approaching the Columbia is 7 to 9 feet deep, with the lower stretch of the river home to private houseboats and docks. The town of Deep River was named for the river. According to Hitchman in Place Names of Washington (1985), the river's original name was "Ela-be-kail", meaning "deep river".

Early Deep River ...
Lewis and Clark passed by Deep River on November 8, 1805, and again on November 25, 1805. The river is unnamed but depicted on their route map [Moulton, vol.1, map#82].

In 1841, Charles Wilkes of the U.S. Exploring Expedition gave the name of "Grays Bay" to the bay west of Grays Point, and the name "Kutzule Bay" to the bay today known as Grays Bay. Draining into "Kutzule Bay" were two rivers. "Kla-be-katl R." was on the west (today's Deep River) and "Ebokwol R." was on the east (today's Grays River). Miller Point is unnamed.

The 1873 cadastral survey of Township 10N/8W, for the Surveyor General's Office for Washington Territory shows Deep River as "Deep River" and Grays Bay as "Grays Bay". Miller Point, Grays River, and Grays Point are not named.

The 1875 U.S. Coast Survey's Chart No.641 ("Columbia River, Sheet No.2") and the 1890 U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey's Chart No.6141 (also "Columbia River, Sheet No.2") however have Deep River listed as "Alamicut River". Other features labeled are "Gray's River", "Gray's Bay", "Portuguese Pt."., and "Gray's Pt.".

From the 1889 U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey's "Coast Pilot":

"... Gray's Bay. -- This is the shoal bay, two miles deep, lying between Gray's Point and Yellow Bluffs. Large patches are bare at low water, especially in the eastern part, but a moderately deep channel runs close under the northwest shore from the mouth of the Alamient or Deep River, past Portuguese Point and Gray's Point. Alamient River opens about a mile west of Gray's River and at its mouth the banks are low but densely wooded. ..."

Deep River (town) ...
The community of Deep River is located 4 and 1/2 miles upstream of the mouth of Deep River. It was first settled in 1875 by Finnish emigrants, and by the 1890s it was a thriving logging settlement with steamboat landing, post office, stores, and a school. Today only river pilings remain.

Deep River in 1941 ...
From "The New Washington: A Guide to the Evergreen State, Federal Writers' Project, 1941":

"... DEEP RIVER, (113 alt., 301 pop.), center of a region of logging camps, is a cluster of impermanent-looking buildings edged between the river and the near-by hillside. There is a log dump in the town, and the great tires of heavy trucks have torn ruts in the dirt street. ..."

Views ...

Image, 2004, Deep River, Washington, looking upstream, at mouth, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Deep River, Washington, near mouth looking upstream. From Oneida Access boat launch, 3 miles upstream of the mouth. Image taken April 9, 2004.

From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, November 8, 1805 ...
A Cloudy morning Some rain, we did not Set out untill 9 oClock [from their campsite near Pillar Rock], haveing Changed our Clothing- proceeded on Close under the Stard. Side, the hills high with Steep assent, Shore boald and rockey Several low Islands [islands of the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge] in a Deep bend or Bay to the Lard Side [Cathlamet Bay], river about 5 or 7 miles wide. three Indians in a Canoe overtook us, with Salmon to Sell, passed 2 old villages on the Stard. Side [passing Altoona] and at 3 miles entered a nitch [Grays Bay. Harrington Point and Pigeon Bluff are the eastern end of Grays Bay where the explorers would first spot the Bay.] of about 6 miles wide and 5 miles deep with Several Creeks [Grays River, Deep River] makeing into the Stard Hills, this nitch [Grays Bay] we found verry Shallow water and Call it the Shallow <nitch> [Grays Bay] we came too at the remains of an old village at the bottom of this nitch and dined [Miller Point], here we Saw great numbers of fowl, Sent out 2 men and they killed a Goose and two Canves back Ducks here we found great numbers of flees which we treated with the greatest caution and distance; after Diner the Indians left us and we took the advantage of a returning tide and proceeded on to the Second point [Portuguese Point, just east of Grays Point, the first point being Rocky Point] on the Std. here we found the Swells or waves So high that we thought it imprudent to proceed; we landed unloaded and drew up our Canoes. Some rain all day at intervales; we are all wet and disagreeable, as we have been for Several days past, and our present Situation a verry disagreeable one in as much; as we have not leavel land Sufficient for an encampment and for our baggage to lie Cleare of the tide, the High hills jutting in So Close and Steep that we cannot retreat back, and the water of the river too Salt to be used, added to this the waves are increasing to Such a hight that we cannot move from this place, in this Situation we are compelled to form our Camp between the hite of the Ebb and flood tides, and rase our baggage on logs- We are not certain as yet if the whites people who trade with those people or from whome they precure ther goods are Stationary at the mouth, or visit this quarter at Stated times for the purpose of trafick &c. I believe the latter to be the most probable conjucture- The Seas roled and tossed the Canoes in Such a manner this evening that Several of our party were Sea Sick.

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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

  • Federal Writers' Project, 1941, "The New Washington: A Guild to the Evergreen State";
  • Hay, K.G., 2004, The Lewis and Clark Columbia River Water Trail, Timber Press, Portland;
  • Hitchman, R., 1985, Place Names of Washington, Washington Historical Society;
  • NOAA Office of Coast Survey website, 2004, 2005;
  • Oregon Bureau of Land Management website, 2005;

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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February 2013