Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Jones Canyon and Lang Canyon, Oregon"
Includes ... Jones Canyon ... Lang Canyon ... Missoula Floods ...
Image, 2006, Sundale, Washington, from Interstate 84, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Sundale, Washington, from Interstate 84, Oregon. View shot from front window of moving vehicle on Oregon's Interstate 84, near Lang/Jones Canyons. Image taken October 2, 2006.

Jones Canyon ...
Jones Canyon is located at Columbia River Mile (RM) 239.5, just downstream from Arlington, Oregon and Alkali Canyon. Downstream of Jones Canyon is Lang Canyon, Blalock Canyon, Myers Canyon, Swanson Canyon, and Philippi Canyon. On the Washington side of the Columbia River is Roosevelt, where Lewis and Clark spent the nights of October 20, 1805 and April 24, 1806, and Sundale, a small Washington orchard community.

Lang Canyon ...
Lang Canyon lies three miles west (downstream) of Jones Canyon at Columbia River Mile (RM) 236.5. Across the Columbia River from Lang Canyon is Chapman Creek and the Washington community of Sundale

According to "Oregon Geographic Names" (2003, McArthur and McArthur):

"Lang Canyon (GILLIAM) ... Lang Canyon drains into the Columbia River from the south at a point about five miles west of Arlington. When the OR&N was built east of The Dalles in 1881, a station named Langs was established at the mouth. The canyon was named for Thomas Stackpole Lang, a native of Maine who came to Oregon in 1875 and for a time engaged in the sheep business in the vicinity of Heppner. He loaded wool on the Columbia River boats by means of a chute or tram in the canyon that now bears his name. Thomas Lang held a number of prominent positions in Maine, both in business and in politics. The later years of his life were spent at The Dalles, and for four years he was receiver of the U.S. Land Office at that place."

Early Jones Canyon ...
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management's General Land Office (GLO) Records database (2014) shows Paul E. Jones being granted title to 160 acres of T3N R21E, NE1/4 of Section 32, on July 25, 1894 (1820 Sale-Cash Entry). Jones Canyon lies to the west.

Early Maps ...

Historic Map, 1913, Blalock and Sundale, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
1913 Topographic map detail, showing Blalock, Oregon, and Sundale, Washington. Also showing the Columbia River, the "Four O'Clock Rapids", "Blalock Rapids", and "Owyhee Rapids", and Blalock Canyon, Lang Canyon, and Jones Canyon. Original map 1:125,000 "Arlington Quadrangle", Washington-Oregon, U.S. Geological Survey, 1916 edition.

Jones Canyon and the Missoula Floods ...
Flood waters of Lake Condon of the Missoula Floods spilled over the southern bank of the Columbia River and headed south through Alkali Canyon (RM 243), Jones Canyon (RM 239.5), Blalock Canyon (RM 234), and Philippi Canyon (RM 227.5). The waters rushing through Alkali Canyon flowed to Rock Creek to the John Day River and then northwest along the John Day River drainage back to the Columbia River (RM 217). The waters flowing up Jones, Blalock, and Philippi Canyons created a scabland before entering the John Day River drainage.


"Hodge (1931) recognized more than 50 years ago that floodwaters had overtopped the low divides between the Columbia River and the headwaters of Rock Creek, as well as the divide directly into the John Day Canyon. The floodwater poured up Alkali Canyon, south of Arlington (Oregon 19), and scoured a channel westward (now occupied by the Union Pacific RR branch line) into Rock Creek 6 miles above its junction with the John Day River. Farther west, the Floods poured up Jones Canyon, Blalock Canyon, and Philippi Canyon just east of Quinton, where it formed several square miles of scabland and left a high-perched expansion bar on the east wall of the John Day Canyon 10 miles from its mouth. A sixth small spillway lies at 1020 feet elevation, 2 miles northwest of Phillipi Canyon."

Source:    John Eliot Allen and Marjorie Burns, with Sam C. Sargent, 1986, "Cataclysms on the Columbia", Timber Press, Portland, Oregon.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, October 21, 1805 ...
A verry cool morning wind from the S. W. we Set out verry early and proceeded on, last night [their previous camp was downstream of Roosevelt, Washington] we could not Collect more dry willows the only fuel, than was barely Suffient to cook Supper, and not a Sufficency to cook brackfast this morning, passd. a Small Island at 5 miles a large one 8 miles in the middle of the river, Some rapid water at the head and Eight Lodges of nativs opposit its Lower point on the Stard. Side, we came too at those lodges, bought some wood and brackfast. ...    at 2 miles lower passed a rapid, large rocks Stringing into the river of large Size [near Blalock Canyon], opposit to this rapid on the Stard. Shore is Situated two Lodges of the nativs drying fish here we halted a fiew minits to examine the rapid before we entered it which was our constant Custom, and at all that was verry dangerous put out all who could not Swim to walk around, after passing this rapid we proceeded on passed anoothe rapid at 5 miles lower down, above this rapid on <the Stard. Side> five Lodges of Indians fishing &c. [near Rock Creek where they would camp on their return, on April 23, 1806] above this rapid maney large rocks on each Side at Some distance from Shore, one mile passed an Island Close to the Stard. Side, below which is two Lodge of nativs, a little below is a bad rapid which is bad crouded with hugh rocks Scattered in every Direction which renders the pasage verry Difficuelt a little above this rapid on the Lard. Side emence piles of rocks appears as if Sliped from the Clifts under which they lay passed great number of rocks in every direction Scattered in the river 5 Lodges a little below on the Stard. Side, and one lodge on an Island near the Stard. Shore opposit to which is a verry bad rapid, thro which we found much dificuelty in passing, the river is Crouded with rocks in every direction, after Passing this dificult rapid to the mouth of a Small river on the Larboard Side [John Day River] 40 yards wide descharges but little water at this time, and appears to take its Sourse in the Open plains to the S. E.     from this place I proceved Some fiew Small pines on the tops of the high hills and bushes in the hollars. imediately above & below this little river [John Day River] comences a rapid which is crouded with large rocks in every direction, the pasage both crooked and dificuelt, we halted at a Lodge to examine those noumerous islands of rock which apd. to extend maney miles below,-. great numbs. of Indians came in canoes to View us at this place, after passing this rapid which we accomplished without loss; <we passed> winding through between the hugh rocks for about 2 miles-. (from this rapid the Conocil mountain [Mount Hood] is S. W. which the Indians inform me is not far to the left of the great falls; this I call the Timm or falls mountain it is high and the top is covered with Snow) imediately below the last rapids there is four Lodges of Indians on the Stard. Side, proceeded on about two miles lower and landed and encamped near five Lodges of nativs, drying fish [Washington side just downstream of today's John Day Dam] those are the relations of those at the Great falls [Celilo Falls], ...     this part of the river is furnished with fine Springs which either rise high up the Sides of the hills or on the bottom near the river and run into the river. the hills are high and rugid a fiew scattering trees to be Seen on them either Small pine or Scrubey white oke. ...     we made 33 miles to day.

Columbia PlateauReturn 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

  • Allen, J.E., and Burns, M., 1986, "Cataclysms on the Columbia", Timber Press, Portland, Oregon;

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 2014