Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
Home Regions Campsites Penny Postcards My Corps of Discovery Image Index Links About This Site Main Menu
Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area, Oregon"
Includes ... Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area ... Broughton Bluff ... Sandy River ...
Image, 2005, Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area, Sandy River, Oregon. Image taken October 22, 2005.

Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area ...
The Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area is located on the Sandy River at River Mile (RM) 3, sixteen miles east of Portland, Oregon. Use Exit 18 off of Interstate 84. Within the Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area lies Broughton Bluff, a popular climbing area. The bluff borders the right bank of the Sandy River and is part of Chamberlain Hill Volcanic Cone. Broughton Bluff was named after Lieutenant William Broughton of the British Captain George Vancouver Expedition who was the first European to travel this far up the Coumbia.

Lewis and Clark State Park in 1965 ...

Lewis and Clark State Park is located on both sides of Sandy River at the east edge of the community of Troutdale in Multnomah County. It is bisected by the Union Pacific Railroad tracks and adjoins the right of way of Interstate Highway 80N.

The first land obtained for this 56.03-acre park was a gift of one acre from Multnomah County in 1936. Another gift of 0.4 of an acre was received from S. H. and Ellen B. Martin in 1961. There were seven purchases, three of which totaling 3.94 acres were from the State Land Board and the remainder was excess right of way land acquisitions with the costs proportioned.

Preservation of a popular smelt fishing site of long-time use and the interesting picnic and camping area prompted acquisition of this land.

The area was named in honor of the long-used camping place at the mouth of the Sandy River where the early 19th Century Explorers, Lewis and Clark, camped on November 3, 1805, for several days while examining the Sandy River. They called the stream Quicksand River. According to Oregon Geographic Names, it appears that the name was shortened about 1850 to Sandy River. The river, however, was originally named Barings River by Lt. W. R. Broughton of Vancouver's Expedition on October 30, 1792.

The area is generally open ground. Native trees grow along the river, on the steep banks above the use area and south of the railroad tracks.

During the spawning season of the tiny smelt in early spring, the park is overrun with visitors. This, however, is of short duration. During the short period when the smelt leave the Columbia River and enter the Sandy on their way to spawning grounds, thousands of people flock to this area to net a fair supply of these tiny fish. Nets fastened to the end of long poles are used to dip the finny denizens from the water. Buckets, kettles and such articles are sometimes used successfully when the run of fish is heavy.

Improvements at the park include a road through the use area on the east side of Sandy River, car parking space, tables, stoves and sanitary facilities. Many trees were planted in the area and a small overnight camp to accommodate 13 tents was facilitated.

Day visitors during 1963 totaled 233,454. Overnight camping was provided in 1961 and the total campers during 1963 was 5,540."

Source:    Chester H. Armstrong (compiler), 1965, "History of the Oregon State Parks: 1917-1963, published by Oregon State Parks.

Views ...

Image, 2005, Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Fall colors, Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area, Sandy River, Oregon. Image taken October 22, 2005.
Image, 2003, Lewis and Clark State Park, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area, Oregon. Image taken October 18, 2003.

Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area, etc.

  • Broughton Bluff ...

Broughton Bluff ...
Broughton Bluff, the northwest tip of Chamberlain Hill, is a prominat feature rising above the Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area.

Image, 2005, Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Broughton Bluff, Fall colors, Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area, Sandy River, Oregon. Image taken October 22, 2005.
Image, 2005, Broughton Bluff, Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Broughton Bluff, Fall colors, Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area, Sandy River, Oregon. Image taken October 22, 2005.

From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, April 2, 1806 ...
This morning we came to a resolution to remain at our present encampment [Cottonwood Beach, Washougal, Washington] or Some where in this neighbourhood untill we had obtained as much dried meat as would be necessary for our voyage as far as the Chopunnish. ...     about this time Several Canoes of the nativs arived at our Camp [Cottonwood Beach] among others two from below with Eight men of the Shah-ha-la Nation those men informed us that they reside on the opposit Side of the Columbia near Some pine trees which they pointed to in the bottom South of the Dimond Island [Government Island], they Singled out two young men whome they informed us lited at the Falls of a large river [Willamette Falls] which discharges itself into the Columbia on it's South Side Some Miles below us. we readily provailed on them to give us a Sketch of this river [Willamette River] which they drew on a Mat with a coal, it appeared that this river which they Call Mult-no'-mah discharged itself behind the Island we call the image Canoe island [Hayden Island], and as we had left this Island to the South both in decending & assending the river we had never Seen it. they informed us that it was a large river and runs a Considerable distance to the South between the Mountains. I deturmined to take a Small party and return to this river and examine its Size and Collect as much information of the nativs on it or near its enterance into the Columbia of its extent, the Country which it waters and the nativs who inhabit its banks &c. I took with me Six Men. Thompson J. Potts, Peter Crusat, P. Wiser, T. P. Howard, Jos. Whitehouse & my man York in a large Canoe, with an Indian whome I hired for a Sun glass to accompany me as a pilot. at half past 11 A. M. I Set out ...     at 8 miles passed a village on the South side [Chinook Landing and Blue Lake area] at this place my Pilot informed me he resided and that the name of his tribe is Ne-cha-co-lee, this village is back or to the South of Dimond island [Government Island], and as we passed on the North Side of the island both decending & assending did not See or know of this Village. I proceeded on without landing at this village. at 3 P. M. I landed at a large double house of the Ne-er-cho-ki-oo tribe of the Shah-ha-la Nation. at this place we had Seen 24 aditional Straw Huts as we passed down last fall [November 4, 1805, in the vicinity of the Portland International Airport] and whome as I have before mentioned reside at the Great rapids of the Columbia [Celilo Falls].     on the bank at different places I observed Small Canoes which the women make use of to gather Wappato & roots in the Slashes. those Canoes are from 10 to 14 feet long and from 18 to 23 inches wide in the widest part tapering from the center to both ends in this form and about 9 inches deep and So light that a woman may with one hand haul them with ease, and they are Sufficient to Carry a woman on Some loading. I think 100 of those canoes were piled up and Scattered in different directions about in the Woods in the vecinity of this house, the pilot informed me that those Canoes were the property of the inhabitents of the Grand rapids who used them ocasionally to gather roots. ...

I left them [village near today's Portland International Airport] and proceeded on on the South Side [North Portland Harbor] of Image Canoe Island [Hayden Island] which I found to be two Islands hid from the opposit Side by one near the Center of the river. the lower point of the upper and the upper point of the lower cannot be Seen from the North Side of the Columbia on which we had passed both decending and ascending and had not observed the apperture between those islands. at the distance of 13 Miles below the last village [location of Portland International Airport] and at the place I had Supposed was the lower point of the image Canoe island [Hayden Island], I entered this river which the nativs had informed us of, Called Mult no mah River [Willamette River] so called by the nativs from a Nation who reside on Wappato Island [Sauvie Island] a little below the enterance of this river. Multnomah [Willamette River] discharges itself in the Columbia on the S. E. and may be justly Said to be the Size of that noble river. Multnomah had fallen 18 inches from it's greatest annual height. three Small Islands are situated in it's mouth [Belle Vue Point and Kelley Point, on opposite sides of the mouth of the Willamette, use to be islands] which hides the river from view from the Columbia.     from the enterance of this river [Willamette River] , I can plainly See Mt. Jefferson [Mount Jefferson, Oregon] which is high and Covered with snow S. E. Mt. Hood East [Mount Hood, Oregon], Mt St. Helians [Mount St. Helens, Washington] a high humped Mountain to the East of Mt St. Helians [Mount Adams, Washington, is east of Mount St. Helens]. I also Saw the Mt. Raneer [Mount Rainier, Washington] Nearly North. Soon after I arived at this river an old man passed down of the Clark a'mos Nation who are noumerous and reside on a branch of this river which receives it's waters from Mt. Jefferson [Mount Jefferson, Oregon] which is emensely high and discharges itself into this river one day and a half up, this distance I State at 40 Miles. This nation inhabits 11 Villages their Dress and language is very Similar to the Quath-lah-poh-tle and other tribes on Wappato Island [Sauvie Island].

The Current of the Multnomar [Willamette River] is as jentle as that of the Columbia glides Smoothly with an eavin surface, and appears to be Sufficiently deep for the largest Ship. I attempted fathom it with a Cord of 5 fathom which was the only Cord I had, could not find bottom ? of the distance across. I proceeded up this river 10 miles from it's enterance into the Columbia to a large house on the N E. Side and Encamped near the house [downstream of Cathedral Park and the St. Johns Bridge, Portland, Oregon, near Portland's Terminal 4.], the flees being So noumerous in the house that we could not Sleep in it.

this is the house of the Cush-hooks Nation who reside at the falls of this river which the pilot informs me they make use of when they Come down to the Vally to gather Wappato. he also informs me that a number of other Smaller houses are Situated on two Bayous which make out on the S. E. Side a little below the house. this house appears to have been laterly abandoned by its inhabitants ...     The course and distance assending the Molt no mar R [Willamette River] from it's enterance into the Columbia at the lower point of the 3rd Image Canoe island.

[This area has changed during the past 200 years. Lewis and Clark called today's Hayden Island "Image Canoe Island". Their "3rd Image Canoe Island" however maybe in reference to the "three Small Islands are situated in it's mouth" (see journal entry above), two of the islands possibly were islands which are today's Belle Vue Point on Sauvie Island, and Pearcy Island which eventually became Kelley Point. Lewis and Clark's route map (Map#79 and Map#80, Moulton, Vol.1) shows a long "Image Canoe Island" with two small islands on the north side of "Image Canoe Island", and three small islands at the mouth of the "Multnomah R.". ]

S. 30 W. 2 Miles to the upper point of a Small Island [???] in the Middle of Moltnomar river [Willamette River]. thence

S. 10 W. 3 miles to a Sluce 80 yards wide [Multnomah Channel] which devides Wappato Island [Sauvie Island] from the Main Stard. Side Shore passing a Willow point on the Lard. Side [???].

S. 60 E. 3 miles to a large Indian house on the Lard Side below Some high pine land.

[Lewis and Clark's map plotted against an 1888 map of the area shows this location to be closer to 2 miles from the Multnomah Channel, just upstream from Portland's Terminal 4, and across from the community of Linnton.]

high bold Shore on the Starboard Side [Tualatin Mountains]. thence

S. 30 E 2 miles to a bend under the high lands on the Stard Side [St. Johns Bridge area located at the base of the Tualatin Mountains]

miles 10 passing a Larborad point [???].

thence the river bends to the East of S East as far as I could See [the stretch through Portland, Oregon]. at this place I think the wedth of the river may be Stated at 500 yards and Sufficiently deep for a Man of War or Ship of any burthern.

Vancouver PlainsReturn 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

  • Armstrong, C.H., (compiler), 1965, "History of the Oregon State Parks: 1917-1963, published by Oregon State Parks;

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.
© 2019, Lyn Topinka, "ColumbiaRiverImages.com", All rights reserved.
Images are NOT to be downloaded from this website.
September 2008