Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
Home Regions Campsites Penny Postcards My Corps of Discovery Image Index Links About This Site Birds etc.
Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Plymouth, Washington"
Includes ... Plymouth ... Plymouth Park ... Campsite of April 26, 1806 ...
Image, 2004, Interstate 82/395 Bridge, from McNary Dam Overlook, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Interstate 82/395 Bridge, from McNary Dam Overlook. Plymouth, Washington, is in the background and Umatilla, Oregon, in the foreground. Image taken September 24, 2004.


Plymouth ...
Plymouth, Washington, is located at Columbia River Mile (RM) 290, across from Umatilla, Oregon, and the mouth of the Umatilla River. Two miles upstream is the Interstate 82/395 Bridge and five miles upstream is the McNary Dam.

Robert Hitchman in Place Names of Washington (1985) writes:

"... The name was chosen because a huge basaltic rock projects into the river at this point; it is so extensive that it was drilled for an 800-ft. railroad tunnel. The name suggested by the railroad was Gilbraltar, but patriotic settlers settled for the present American name. The original Indian name or the locality is said to have been So-loo-sa. ..."

Lewis and Clark spent the night of April 26, 1806, on the Washington banks of the Columbia River in the area of today's Plymouth.


Campsite of April 26, 1806 ...
Lewis and Clark's camp of April 26, 1806, is unmarked on their route maps, but historians believe it was below or in the vicinity of the present-day Plymouth, Washington, and opposite the mouth of the Umatilla River, seven miles above their camp of October 19, 1805 near Irrigon, Oregon.

"... after dinner we Continued our march through a leavel plain near the river 16 miles and encamped about a mile below 3 Lodges of the fritened band of the Wallah wallah nation, and about 7 miles above our encampment of the 19th of Octr. last. ..." [Clark, April 26, 1806]

"... We travelled about 25 miles and encamped at a small grove of willows. ..." [Gass, April 26, 1806]

"... came 20 odd miles this day & Camped on the bank of the river. only small willows to burn &C- ..." [Ordway, April 26, 1806]

Lewis and Clark's previous campsite was located at Alder Creek, Washington and their camp of April 27, 1806, was near Yellepit, Washington, opposite the mouth of the Walla Walla River.


Plymouth Park ...
Plymouth Park is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Park located in Plymouth, Washington. Good views of Sillusi Butte and the Interstate 82/395 Bridge can be seen from the park.

Image, 2005, Plymouth Park, Washington, with McNary Dam, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Plymouth Park, Plymouth, Washington. Image taken May 24, 2005.
Image, 2005, Sillusi Butte from Plymouth Park, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Sillusi Butte from Plymouth Park, Plymouth, Washington. Image taken May 24, 2005.
Image, 2005, Interstate 82-395 Bridge from Plymouth Park, Washington, with McNary Dam, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Interstate 82/395 Bridge with McNary Dam, from Plymouth Park, Plymouth, Washington. Image taken May 24, 2005.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, October 19, 1805 ...
we Set out which was not untill 9 oClock A M. [from their camp at Spring Gulch]    we proceeded on passed a Island, close under the Lard Side about Six miles in length [islands near Juniper Canyon, now under the waters of Lake Wallula] opposit to the lower point of which two Isds. are situated on one of which five Lodges <of Indians> vacent & Saffolds drying fish    at the upper point of this Island Swift water.     a Short distance below passed two Islands; one near the middle of the river on which is Seven lodges of Indians drying fish [across from Boat Rock and Hat Rock],     at our approach they hid themselves in their Lodges and not one was to be seen untill we passed, they then Came out in greater numbers than is common in Lodges of their Size, it is probable that, the inhabitants of the 5 Lodges above had in a fright left their lodges and decended to this place to defend them Selves if attackted there being a bad rapid opposit the Island thro which we had to pass prevented our landing on this Island and passifying those people, about four miles below this fritened Island we arrived at the head of a verry bad rapid [Umatilla Rapids, today the location of the McNary Dam]

[The islands and rapids in this area between Spring Gulch and the Umatilla Rapids are now under the waters of Lake Wallula, the reservoir behind the McNary Dam. Today's locations passed by Lewis and Clark include Sand Station, Warehouse Beach, and McNary Beach, all U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Recreation Areas, and Hat Rock State Park and nearby Boat Rock. Hat Rock was mentioned by Captain Clark in his first draft but not in his final draft.]

we came too on the Lard Side to view the rapid [Umatilla Rapids] before we would venter to run it, as the Chanel appeared to be close under the oppd. Shore, and it would be necessary to liten our canoe, I deturmined to walk down on the Lard Side, with the 2 Chiefs the interpreter & his woman, and derected the Small canoe to prcede down on the Lard Side to the foot of the rapid which was about 2 miles in length     I Sent on the Indian Chiefs &c. down and I assended a high clift about 200 feet above the water [upstream of Umatilla. Today there is an overlook above the McNary Dam] from the top of which is a leavel plain extending up the river and off for a great extent, at this place the Countrey becoms low on each Side of the river, and affords a pros of the river and countrey below for great extent both to the right and left; from this place I descovered a high mountain of emence hight covered with Snow, this must be one of the mountains laid down by Vancouver, as Seen from the mouth of the Columbia River, from the Course which it bears which is West I take it to be Mt. St. Helens, destant <about 120> 156 miles [actually Mount Adams, Washington, visible on a clear day]     a range of mountains in the Derection crossing [Cascade Mountains], a conacal mountain S. W. toped with Snow [Mount Hood, Oregon]     This rapid I observed [Umatilla Rapids] as I passed opposit to it to be verry bad interseped with high rock and Small rockey Islands [today these islands are under the waters of Lake Wallula, the reservoir behind the McNary Dam], here I observed banks of Muscle Shells banked up in the river in Several places, I Delayed at the foot of the rapid about 2 hours for the Canoes which I could See met with much dificuelty in passing down the rapid on the oposit Side maney places the men were obliged to get into the water and haul the canoes over Sholes- while Setting on a rock wateing for Capt Lewis I Shot a Crain which was flying over of the common kind. I observed a great number of Lodges on the opposit Side at Some distance below [Lewis and Clark's map show 44 lodges lining the Washington shore from Plymouth, Washington, downstream to across from Irrigon, Oregon.] and Several Indians on the opposit bank passing up to where Capt. Lewis was with the Canoes, others I Saw on a knob [Sillusi Butte] nearly opposit to me at which place they delayed but a Short time before they returned to their Lodges as fast as they could run, ...

[This area today is the location of Umatilla, Oregon, and Plymouth, Washington, and is spanned not only by McNary Dam but also my the Interstate 82/395 Bridge. The Umatilla Rapids are below the waters of Lake Wallula, the waters behind McNary Dam.]

proceeded on passed a Small rapid and 15 Lodges below the five,

[Lewis and Clark have missed spotting or commenting on the Umatilla River, located 3 miles downstream of the town of Umatilla.]

and Encamped below an Island Close under the Lard Side [near Irrigon, Oregon] nearly opposit to 24 Lodges on an Island near the middle of the river [the majority of the islands in this area are now under the waters of Lake Umatilla, the reservoir behind the John Day Dam.], and the Main Stard Shor     Soon after we landed which was at a fiew willow trees [today much of the shoreline on both sides of the Columbia is within the Umatilla National Wildlife Refuge] about 100 Indians Came from the different Lodges, and a number of them brought wood which they gave us, we Smoked with all of them, and two of our Party Peter Crusat & Gibson played on the violin which delighted them greatly ...     This day we made 36 miles






Clark, April 26, 1806 ...
This morning early we proceeded on [from their campsite at Alder Creek, Washington] and at the distance of three miles entered a low leavel plain Country of great extent.   :  here the river hills are low and receed a great distance from the river this low Country Comenced on the South Side about 10 miles below our Encampment of the last night [Alder Creek], those plains are Covered with a variety of herbatious plants, Grass and 3 Species of Shrubs.     at the distance of 12 miles halted near Some willows which afforded us a Sufficient quantity of fuel to cook our dinner which Consisted of the ballance of the dogs we had purchased yesterday evening and Some jerked Elk....     the roads dusty ...    after dinner we Continued our march through a leavel plain near the river 16 miles and encamped [near Plymouth, Washington, across from the mouth of the Umatilla River] about a mile below 3 Lodges of the fritened band of the Wallah wallah nation, and about 7 miles above our encampment of the 19th of Octr. last. [near Irrigon, Oregon] ...     made 28 miles



Lewis, April 26, 1806 ...
This morning early we set forward and at the distance of three miles entered a low level plain country of great extent. here the river hills are low and receede a great distance from the river this low country commence on the S. side of the river about 10 miles below our encampment of last evening [near Alder Creek, Washington]. these plains are covered with a variety of herbatious plants, grass, and three speceis of shrubs specimines of which I have preserved. at the distance of twelve miles we halted near a few willows which afforded us a sufficient quantity of fuel to cook our dinner which consisted of the ballance of the dogs we had purchased yesterday evening and some jirked Elk. ...     after dinner we continued our march through the level plain near the river 16 Ms. and encamped [near Plymouth, Washington] about a mile below three lodges of the Wollah wollah nation, and about 7 Ms. above our encampment of the 19 of October last [near Irrigon, Oregon].


Gass, April 26, 1806 ...
Last night Capt. Lewis and Capt. Clarke got each a horse, and we set out early, had a fine morning, and proceeded on very well, most of the men having their knapsacks carried on the horses. At noon we halted and took a little of our dried meat, which is the only food we have. At 2 o'clock we continued our journey, and the officers were obliged to go on foot again, to let some of the men ride whose feet were very sore. The country is level and has a most beautiful appearance. On the plains there is a species of clover, as large as any I have seen, and has a large red handsome blossom. The leaves are not quite so large as those of the red clover cultivated in the Atlantic States, but has seven and eight leaves on a branch. We were overtaken and passed by a great number of the natives, with large droves of horses, that look well and are in good order. We travelled about 25 miles and encamped at a small grove of willows.


Ordway, April 26, 1806 ...
Set out proced on over a low level Smooth Sandy plain about 12 miles & halted & dined on a little dry Elk meat as we have nothing else. the day warm. we delayed about 1 hour and proceed. on ...     Saw considerable of Snow on the mountains to the South & S East. came 20 odd miles this day & Camped on the bank of the river. only small willows to burn &Có




Columbia PlateauReturn to
Menu
 



SNAKE RIVER CONFLUENCE | COLUMBIA PLATEAU
COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE | VANCOUVER PLAINS | JOURNEY TO THE PACIFIC
CASCADE RANGE VOLCANOES | CAMPSITES


HOME | REGIONS | PENNY POSTCARDS | MY CORPS OF DISCOVERY
IMAGE INDEX | LINKS | ABOUT THIS SITE


COLUMBIA RIVER IMAGES - HOME
NORTHWEST JOURNEY - HOME
NORTHWEST BIRDING
RIDGEFIELD NWR - BIRDS
COMPLETE BIRD LIST - PHOTOS
THE BARLOW ROAD
WILDFLOWERS and WEED BLOSSOMS



*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: Hitchman, R., 1985, Place Names of Washington, Washington State Historical Society.

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.
ColumbiaRiverImages.com/Regions/Places/plymouth.html
© 2014, Lyn Topinka, "ColumbiaRiverImages.com", All rights reserved.
Images are NOT to be downloaded from this website.
September 2008