Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Five Creeks and Falls ... Shellrock Mountain to Starvation Creek, Oregon"
Includes ... Cabin Creek ... Warren Creek ... Warren Falls ... Hole-in-the-Wall Falls ... Wonder Creek ... Lancaster Falls ... Lindsey Creek ... Lindsey Falls ... Summit Creek ... Summit Creek Falls ...
Image, 2012, Lancaster Falls, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Lancaster Falls, Oregon, as seen from Interstate 84. Lancaster Falls is 303 feet tall and located on Wonder Creek. Image taken June 15, 2012.


Five Creeks and Falls ...
On the Oregon side of the Columbia River, between Shellrock Mountain (RM 158) and Starvation Creek (RM 159.5), lie five small creeks and falls. Upstream to downstream are Cabin Creek and Cabin Falls, Warren Creek and Hole-In-The-Wall Falls, Wonder Creek and Lancaster Falls, Lindsey Creek and Lindsey Creek Falls, and Summit Creek and Summit Creek Falls".

Lewis and Clark and Four "Cascades" ...
On October 30, 1805, Captain Clark wrote about four cascades on the Oregon side while above Shellrock Mountain and Wind Mountain.

"... Saw 4 Cascades caused by Small Streams falling from the mountains on the Lard. Side ..." [Clark, October 30, 1805]

The possiblities for those four falls are - upstream to downstream in a two-mile stretch - Starvation Creek and Falls, the seasonal Cabin Creek and Falls, Warren Creek and Falls, Wonder Creek and Lancaster Falls, Lindsey Creek and Falls, and Summit Creek and Falls.



Five Creeks and Falls

  • Cabin Creek and Cabin Creek Falls ...
  • Warren Creek and Hole-In-The-Walls Falls ...
  • Wonder Creek and Lancaster Falls ...
  • Lindsey Creek and Lindsey Creek Falls and Harrison Falls ...
  • Summit Creek and Summit Creek Falls and Camp Benson Falls ...


Cabin Creek and Cabin Creek Falls ...
Cabin Creek and Cabin Creek Falls is the small stream drainage located approximately 1/3 mile west of Starvation Creek and Falls. Cabin Creek Falls is a 220-feet-high two-tier falls, with the tallest drop being 130 feet. Cabin Creek Falls can be seen through the trees from Interstate 84.

Cabin Creek Falls:

"Cabin Creek Falls is the first fall encountered along the Mt. Defiance trail. The falls drop from a razor thin crack in the adjacent cliff, bouncing once on a small shelf, then dropping to the trail. The falls are situated no more than 50 feet from the trail ... When the surrounding trees are bare, once can see almost the entire falls from the trail, the upper tier more or less alone, and the lower tier by itself, but thanks to [a] dastardly boulder, never together. ... The falls can also be seen well from Interstate 84, though, again, not in its entirety."


Source:    "Waterfallsnorthwest.com" website, 2018.


Image, 2018, Cabin Creek Falls, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Cabin Creek Falls, Oregon, as seen from Interstate 84. Image taken February 12, 2018.


Warren Creek and Hole-In-The-Wall Falls ...
According to the Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program's website (2014), there are nineteen small rivers and creeks entering the Columbia River between the Bonneville Dam and Hood River, including the 2.5-mile-long Warren Creek. Warren Creek is intermittent at its mouth with a 50-foot-high falls at Mile 0.2. Warren Creek heads in Warren Lake and its mouth is an impounded pond created by railroad fill.

Both Warren Creek and the early Warren Falls were named after Warren Cooper, a former U.S. Forest Service ranger.

"Warren Falls was the original waterfall along Warren Creek, both named for Warren Cooper, a former ranger for the Forest Service. Warren Falls, for all intents and purposes, ceased to exist in 1938 and Hole-in-the-Wall Falls was born and named for obvious reasons. Some sources still erroneously refer to this waterfall as Warren Falls or Warren Creek Falls." ["WaterfallsNorthwest.com" website, 2017]


Hole-In-The-Wall Falls:

"If a road is washed out by a stream, the road is usually repaired because it's the most practical thing to do. Well, apparently in the early 20th century, practicality was not of great concern. The original Columbia River Highway was constructed paralleling close to Warren Creek's major waterfall, Warren Falls. During high water, the creek would often wash out the road, so, rather than repairing or just moving the road, in 1938 someone decided to move the waterfall. A tunnel was blasted through the adjacent cliff, through which the creek was diverted, and Hole-in-the-Wall Falls was born."


Source:    "Waterfallsnorthwest.com" website, 2017.



Wonder Creek and Lancaster Falls ...

According to the Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program's website (2014), Wonder Creek is a 1/2-mile-long steep tributary to Warren Creek, with a falls at its mouth.

Lancaster Falls is a 303-foot two-drop waterfall on Wonder Creek, located at Columbia River Mile (RM) 159. The upper portion of the falls can be seen from Oregon's Interstate 84 heading east, just before reaching the Starvation Creek Rest Stop.

According to the "Northwest Waterfall Survey" website (2012):

"Wonder Creek heads in a spring high up the mountain, sending a small but extremely consistent volume of water plunging 231 feet over a mossy cliff, then channeling into a narrow slot and fluming down about 50 feet before plunging the final 20 feet."

In 1970, at the suggestion of Gertrude G. Jensen and Donald J. Sterling, Jr., Lancaster Falls was named after Samuel C. Lancaster, the engineer who designed the Historic Columbia River Highway. The U.S. Board of Geographic Names made it official in 1971.


Image, 2018, Lancaster Falls, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Lancaster Falls, Oregon, as seen from Interstate 84. Lancaster Falls is 303 feet tall and located on Wonder Creek. Image taken February 12, 2018.


Lindsey Creek and Lindsey Creek Falls and Harrison Falls ...
Lindsey Creek was named for John Lindsey, an early homesteader. The creek heads at North Lake and flows northeast into the Columbia River at Lindsey Pond, 2.5 miles north of Mount Defiance. The mouth is located at Columbia River Mile (RM) 159.

Lindsey Creek Falls is 50 feet high with two drops, the longest being 40 feet. The falls is located at the 396-foot elevation.

Harrison Falls, also known as "Lower Lindsey Creek Falls", is a lower falls along Lindsey Creek. This falls drops 64 feet in four tiers. Harrison Falls is located about 450 feet upstream from where Interstate 84 crosses Lindsey Creek.

Lindsey Pond is separated from the Columbia by a levee for the Union Pacific Railroad tracks.

[More]



Summit Creek and Summit Creek Falls and Camp Benson Falls ...
Summit Creek circles the east side of Shellrock Mountain, and sports two falls. The upper falls bears the unofficial name of "Summit Creek Falls" and the lower falls has a historical name of "Camp Benson Falls" (also known as "Lower Summit Creek Falls").

Summit Creek Falls:

"This is the upper of two known waterfalls on Summit Creek ... [Summit Creek Falls] consist of a flume like plunge of about 10 feet that falls into a pile of logs in a narrow section of the canyon, folllowed by another 5 foot drop before the creek veils a final 15 feet in an attractive fan-shape."

Camp Benson Falls:

"[There is] a second, lower, waterfall [on Summit Creek] ... This is clearly the major waterfall of Summit Creek, at least in the lower section, and mthe much more logical one to bear any historical name. The falls occur where the creek breaks about 90 feet through a cliff band surrounded by several large deciduous trees, before cascading steeply for another hundred feet or so before gurgling into a talus field and disappearing entirely shortly before reaching Interstate 84. The falls can be partially seen from I-84 in the winter ..."


Source:    "Waterfallsnorthwest.com" website, 2018.



From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, October 30, 1805 ...
A cool morning, a moderate rain all the last night, after eating a partial brackfast of venison we Set out [from their camp near Drano Lake and the Little White Salmon River]     passed Several places where the rocks projected into the river & have the appearance of haveing Seperated from the mountains and fallen promiscuisly into the river, Small nitches are formed in the banks below those projecting rocks which is comon in this part of the river, Saw 4 Cascades caused by Small Streams falling from the mountains on the Lard. Side,

[The possiblities in a two-mile area are - upstream to downstream - Starvation Creek and Falls, the seasonal Cabin Creek and Falls, Warren Creek and Falls, Wonder Creek and Lancaster Falls, Lindsey Creek and Falls, and Summit Creek and Falls.]

a remarkable circumstance in this part of the river is, the Stumps of pine trees [Submerged Forest]

[The Submerged Forest existed along the reach from above Dog Mountain/Viento Creek on the upstream edge and Wind Mountain/Shellrock Mountain on the downstream edge.]

are in maney places are at Some distance in the river, and gives every appearance of the rivers being damed up below from Some cause which I am not at this time acquainted with [Bonneville Landslide],     the Current of the river is also verry jentle not exceeding 1 1/2 mile pr. hour and about 3/4 of a mile in width. Some rain, we landed above the mouth of a Small river on the Stard. Side [Wind River] and Dined ...   :  here the river widens to about one mile large Sand bar in the middle, a Great [rock] both in and out of the water, large <round> Stones, or rocks are also permiscuisly Scattered about in the river, ...     this day we Saw Some fiew of the large Buzzard    Capt. Lewis Shot at one, those Buzzards are much larger than any other of ther Spece or the largest Eagle white under part of their wings &c. [California Condor] ...     The bottoms above the mouth of this little river [Wind River] <which we Call> is rich covered with grass & firn & is about 3/4 of a mile wide rich and rises gradually, below the river (which is 60 yards wide above its mouth) the Countery rises with Steep assent. we call this little river <fr Ash> New Timbered river from a Speces of Ash <that wood> which grows on its banks of a verry large and different from any we had before Seen, and a timber resembling the beech in bark <& groth> but different in its leaf which is Smaller and the tree smaller. passed maney large rocks in the river and a large creek on the Stard. Side in the mouth of which is an Island [Rock Creek near Stevenson, Washington], passed on the right of 3 Islands <on> near the Stard. Side, and landed on an Island close under the Stard. Side at the head of the great Shute [head of the Cascades Rapids], and a little below a village of 8 large houses on a Deep bend on the Stard. Side, and opposit 2 Small Islands imediately in the head of the Shute, which Islands are covered with Pine, maney large rocks also, in the head of the Shute. Ponds back of the houses, and Countrey low for a Short distance. The day proved Cloudy dark and disagreeable with Some rain all day which kept us wet. The Countary a high mountain on each Side thickly Covered with timber, Such as Spruc, Pine, Cedar, Oake Cotton &c. &c.     I took two men and walked down three miles to examine the Shute and river below proceeded along an old Indian path, passd. an old village at 1 mile [vicinity of Ice House Lake] ...     I found by examonation that we must make a portage of the greater perpotion of our Stores 2 1/2 miles, and the Canoes we Could haul over the rocks, I returned at Dark ...     a wet disagreeable evening, the only wood we could get to burn on this little Island on which we have encamped [near Ashes Lake, the island is now under the waters of the Bonneville Reservoir. Ashes Lake was near the head of the Cascade Rapids. Across from Ashes Lake is Cascade Locks, Oregon.] is the newly discovered Ash, which makes a tolerable fire. we made fifteen miles to daye





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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:    Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program (2014), "NWCouncil.org" website, 2017, Lower Oregon Columbia Gorge Tributaries Watershed Assessment;    McArthur, L.A., and McArthur, L.L., 2003, Oregon Geographic Names, Oregon Historical Society Press;    Northwest Waterfall Survey website, 2012, 2017, 2018, Bryan Swan, "waterfallsnorthwest.com";    U.S. Geological Survey website, 2012, U.S. Board of Geographic Names;   

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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© 2017, Lyn Topinka, "ColumbiaRiverImages.com", All rights reserved.
Images are NOT to be downloaded from this website.
September 2017