Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Philippi Canyon, Oregon"
Includes ... Philippi Canyon ... "Quinton Canyon" ... Quinton ... Missoula Floods ...
Image, 2006, Philippi Canyon as seen from Interstate 84, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Philippi Canyon, Oregon, as seen from Interstate 84. Image taken October 2, 2006.

Philippi Canyon ...
Philippi Canyon is located at on the Oregon side of the Columbia River at River Mile (RM) 227.5. Upstream is Jones Canyon and Blalock Canyon, while across the Columbia on the Washington side is Rock Creek, the location of Lewis and Clark's campsite of April 23, 1806. Downstream from Philippi Canyon is the John Day River and the John Day Dam.

Early Philippi Canyon ...
According to "Oregon Geographic Names" (2003, McArthur and McArthur):

"Philippi Canyon (GILLIAM) ... This canyon debouches into the Columbia River east of John Day Dam. Roy Philippi wrote the compiler in 1970 that his father, Albert, homesteaded this land in the 1880s and that four generations of the family have lived on the ranch. In 1970, the USCE developed Albert Philippi Park at slack water on John Day River on land that was part of the Philippi Ranch."

The Bureau of Land Management's General Land Office (GLO) Records database shows Abert Philippi being granted title to 160 acres of T3N R18E Section 20 on September 9, 1895 (1862 Homestead Entry Original), and Albert Philippi being granted title to 160 acres of T3N R18E Section 20 on June 27, 1902 (1873 Timber Culture). This plots on the high land between the John Day River and Philippi Canyon.

An early name for Philippi Canyon was "Quinton Canyon". Quinton was a railroad station located downstream of Philippi Canyon.

Philippi 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


Views ...

Image, 2006, Interstate 84 approaching Philippi Canyon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Interstate 84 heading west, approaching Philippi Canyon. The Columbia River can be see on the right. Image taken October 2, 2006.

From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, ...

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
  • McArthur, L.A., and McArthur, L.L., 2003, "Oregon Geographic Names", Oregon Historical Society Press, Portland;
  • U.S. Bureau of Land Management's General Land Office (GLO) Records database, 2007;
  • U.S. Geological Survey's Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) database, 2007;

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.
February 2014