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"
"Rock Creek, Klickitat County, Washington"
Includes ... Rock Creek ... Campsite of April 23, 1806 ... Goodnoe ... Goodnoe Hills ...
Image, 2004, Rock Creek, at mouth, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Rock Creek, Klickitat County, Washington, at mouth looking upstream. View from Washington State Highway 14 bridge crossing Rock Creek, at the backwaters of Lake Umatilla (the reservoir behind the John Day Dam) flooding the Rock Creek drainage. The eastern edge of the Columbia Hills rise on the left. Image taken April 24, 2004.


Rock Creek ...
Rock Creek is located in Klickitat County on the Washington side of the Columbia River at River Mile (RM) 229, in T3N R19E, Section 32, just upstream from Goodnoe. Seven miles upstream is the small orchard community of Sundale, and fifteen miles upstream is the larger community of Roosevelt. Downstream is the John Day Dam which spans the Columbia River at RM 216. Across the river on the Oregon side is a Quinton, Philippi Canyon, and the historical location of Blalock. Blalock once a train stop and small community but is now under the waters of Lake Umatilla, the reservoir behind the John Day Dam. The mouth of Rock Creek was also flooded by those waters. Lewis and Clark spent the night of April 23, 1806 camped on the banks of Rock Creek.

Rock Creek Drainage ...

Image, 2005, Rock Creek Canyon, from Interstate-84, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Rock Creek drainage, Washington, from Interstate 84, Oregon. View of Rock Creek Canyon, Washington, while driving along Interstate 84, Oregon. Thin horizontal lines are wires on the Oregon side. Image taken September 24, 2005.


Lewis and Clark and Rock Creek ...
Lewis and Clark missed seeing Rock Creek on their journey downstream in 1805. They did notice it however on their return trip in April 1806 and they camped on Rock Creek's upstream (left) bank.

Campsite of April 23, 1806 ...
Lewis and Clark's Campsite for April 23, 1806, was just upstream of Rock Creek, at a large Indian Village.

"... We had a cloudy morning. I went also by water to day, and we had very laborious work in getting along. In the evening we met the party at a large village of the Wal-la-waltz nation, on the north side of the river; where the other canoe had also arrived. Here we halted, unloaded the canoes and encamped. ..." [Gass, April 23, 1806]

"... we had all our horses side hubbled and turned out to graize; at this village, a large creek falls in on the N. side which we did not observe as we decended the river. ...     came 12 miles by land. the sands made the march fatieguing.- ..." [Lewis, April 23, 1806]

"... about 10 A. M. Set out proced on through high plains and banks of Sand along the river. the day warm. towards evening we arived at a large village at the mouth of a creek where we Camped ..." [Ordway, April 23, 1806]

Lewis and Clark's route map [Moulton, vol.1, map#77] shows the Indian village and Lewis and Clark's camp to be on the upstream side of Rock Creek. Rock Creek itself is unnamed and its mouth is located behind an island hugging the Washington shore. Their previous camp of April 22, 1806 was located upstream of the John Day Dam, across from the mouth of the John Day River. Their camp of April 24, 1806, was near Roosevelt, Washington.


Early Rock Creek ...
Edmund S. Meany wrote in "Origin of Washington Geographic Names" (1923, University of Washington Press):

"Rock Creek ... at least eleven small streams in Washington bear this descriptive name. The most important historically is the stream flowing into the Columbia near the station Fountain in the south central part of Klickitat County. In 1811, David Thompson called it "Now-wow-ee". This has been identified as Rock Creek by T.C. Elliott who edited the Journal of David Thompson."

Robert Hitchman wrote in "Place Names of Washington" (1985, Washington Historical Society):

"Rock Creek ... The stream of the creek heads in Simcoe Mountains, southeast of Satus Pass, Klickitat County; flows southeast 25 miles to Columbia River near Fountain. This creek, like most streams in the state, has rocks in its course."

Views ...

Image, 2004, Rock Creek, Klickitat County, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Rock Creek, Klickitat County, Washington, looking towards the Columbia River. Image taken April 24, 2004.
Image, 2004, Rock Creek, at mouth, left bank, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Left bank of Rock Creek, Washington, near it's junction with the Columbia. View from Washington State Highway 14 bridge crossing Rock Creek. Image taken April 24, 2004.
Image, 2004, Rock Creek, at mouth, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Rock Creek, Washington. Rock Creek approximately one mile upstream from the Columbia River, where the the backwater from Lake Umatilla (the reservoir behind the John Day Dam) ends and Rock Creek begins. View from the boat launch/picnic area. Image taken April 24, 2004.
Image, 2004, Rock Creek Park and Boat Launch, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
At Rock Creek Picnic Area and Boat Launch. Image taken April 24, 2004.
Image, 2012, Rock Creek, Klickitat County, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Looking upstream Rock Creek, Klickitat County, Washington. View from bridge approximately four miles upstream from the junction with the Columbia River. Image taken June 6, 2012.
Image, 2012, Rock Creek, Klickitat County, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Looking downstream Rock Creek, Klickitat County, Washington. View from bridge approximately four miles upstream from the junction with the Columbia River. Image taken June 6, 2012.
Image, 2012, Rock Creek, Klickitat County, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
California Quail, male, Rock Creek, Klickitat County, Washington. Image taken June 6, 2012.
Image, 2012, Rock Creek, Klickitat County, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Bullock's Oriole, male, Rock Creek, Klickitat County, Washington. Image taken June 6, 2012.
Image, 2012, Rock Creek, Klickitat County, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Eastern Kingbird, Rock Creek, Klickitat County, Washington. Image taken June 6, 2012.


Rock Creek, etc.

  • Goodnoe and Goodnoe Hills ...
  • North Bank Road ... (Fountain)
  • Rock Creek Boat Launch and Picnic Area ...
  • Rock Creek Rapids ...
  • Rock Creek Tribal "Undeveloped" Fishing Access Site ...


Goodnoe and Goodnoe Hills ...
Goodnoe is a small settlement along the banks of the Columbia River, downstream from the mouth of Rock Creek. The Goodnoe Hills rise up from the right bank of Rock Creek. The Goodnoe hills are a part of the more massive Columbia Hills which stretch across Klickitat County from the Klickitat River on the west to Rock Creek on the east.
[More]

Image, 2012, Klickitat County, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Goodnoe Hills homestead, Rock Creek vicinity, Columbia Hills, Klickitat County, Washington. Image taken June 6, 2012.


North Bank Road ... (Fountain)
The Great Northern Railway and Northern Pacific Railroad, competitors in the transcontinental business, launched the Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railway in 1905 and built a line along the north side of the Columbia River. This line was known as "The North Bank Railroad", "The North Bank Road", "Columbia River Scenic Route", and "The Northwests Own Railway". The tracks were started in October 1905 and completed in February 1908, with a celebration being held on March 11th at Sheridan Point upstream of the Fort Rains Blockhouse location. On March 19th, regular passenger service between Vancouver and Pasco was begun. The journey took eight hours.

STATIONS ON THE NORTH BANK
Between Vancouver and Pasco There Will Be 43 Stops.

"LYLE, Wash., July 24. -- (Special.) -- Chief Surgeon Irvine, of the North Bank Road says there will be 43 stations about five miles apart on the line between Vancouver and Pasco. From west to east the stations will appear on the new map as Image, Fisher, Bourne, Seal, Cruzatt, Butler, Cascades, Stevenson, Ash, Collins, Cooks, Hood, Bingen, Villa, Lyle, Skadat, Grandalles, Spedis, Avery, Timms, Columbus, Cliffs, Towal, Harbin, Fountain, Sanda, Roosevelt, Moonax, McCredie, Carley, Luzon, Sage, Patterson, Coolide, Gravel, Plymouth, Colbia, Mottinger, Tomar, Yellepit, Hoover and Finley. He also reports the track is being blasted as fast as laid."


Source:    "Morning Oregonian", July 25, 1907, courtesy Historic Oregon Newspapers Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, 2019.

[More]



Rock Creek Boat Launch and Picnic Area ...
(to come)


Rock Creek Rapids ...
In 1921 L.R. Freeman, in his "Down The Columbia", wrote:

"Owyhee, Blalock and Four O'clock rapids were easy running, but the sustained roar which the slight up-river breeze brought to my ears as the black, right-angling gorge of Rock Creek came in sight was fair warning that there was really rough water ahead."

"The river narrowed sharply above Rock Creek ... I saw that the rapid dropped away in a solid stretch of white foam tumbling between black basaltic walls. There was a good, stiff fall, but it was reassuring that I could see right away to the end of the white water, which did not appear to continue around the ninety-degree bend at the foot. ... That was rough-and-rowdy water ..."

[More]


Historic Map, 1858, John Day's River and Rock Creek, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
1858 Military Reconnaissance map detail, showing the Columbia River from John Day's River, Oregon, to Rock Creek, Washington. Also showing John Day's Rapids, Indian Rapids, Squally Rapids, and Rock Rapids. Original map 1:300,000.


Rock Creek "Undeveloped" Fishing Access Site, Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission ...
All four Columbia River treaty tribes enjoy fishing rights along the Columbia from the Bonneville to McNary dams. This 147-mile stretch of the river is called Zone 6. The Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC) operates and maintains 31 fishing sites (2015, Note: the website map only shows 30 sites) in Zone 6. These sites were set aside by Congress to provide fishing locations to Indian fishers whose traditional fishing grounds were inundated behind dams.

"For fisheries management purposes, the 292-mile stretch of the Columbia River that creates the border between Washington and Oregon is divided into six zones. Zones 1-5 are between the mouth of the river and Bonneville Dam, a distance of 145 miles. Oregon and Washington manage the commercial fisheries that occur in these zones. Zone 6 is an exclusive treaty Indian commercial fishing area. This exclusion is for commercial fishing only. Non-commercial sports fishers may still fish in this stretch of the river." [Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission website, 2016]

The Zone 6 sites include 19 Treaty Fishing Access sites (Bonneville, Wyeth, White Salmon, Stanley Rock, Lyle, Dallesport, Celilo, Maryhill, Rufus, Preacher's Eddy, North Shore, LePage Park, Pasture Point, Roosevelt Park, Pine Creek, Threemile Canyon, Alderdale, Crow Butte, and Faler Road), five "In-lieu" sites (Cascade Locks, Wind River, Cooks, Underwood, and Lone Pine), two "Shared-use" sites (Avery and Sundale Park, for both Tribal use and Public use), and four "Unimproved" sites with no services (Goodnoe, Rock Creek, Moonay, and Aldercreek).



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 5½ 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.






Clark, April 23, 1806 ...
at day light this morning [camp across from the John Day River] we were informed that the two horses of our interpreter Shabono were missing ...     as our Situation was Such that we Could not detain for a horse, which would prevent our makeing a timely Stage which is a great object with us in those open plains, we Concluded to give up the horse and proceed on to the next village which we were informed was at Some distance and would take us the greater part of the day. at 11 A. M. we packed up and Set out and proceeded up on the N. Side of the Columbia on a high narrow bottom and rockey for 12 miles to the Wah-how-pum village near the rock rapid [Rock Creek Rapids] of 12 temporary mat Lodges, those people appeared pleased to See us. ...     we passed Several Lodges on the bank of the river where they were fixed waiting for the Salmon. ...     at this village a large Creek falls in on the N. Side which I had not observed as I decended the river [Rock Creek].     the river is by no means as rapid as it was at the time we decended. ...    The Sand through which we walked to day is So light that renders the march verry fatigueing.     made 12 miles by land.





Columbia PlateauReturn to
Menu
 



SNAKE RIVER CONFLUENCE | COLUMBIA PLATEAU
COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE | VANCOUVER PLAINS | JOURNEY TO THE PACIFIC
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
THE COLUMBIA RIVER HIGHWAY
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:
  • Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission website, 2016;
  • Freeman, L.R., 1921, "Down The Columbia", Dodd, Mead and Company, New York (trip taken in September 1920);
  • Historic Oregon Newspapers Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, 2019;
  • Hitchman, R., 1985, "Place Names of Washington", Washington State Historical Society;
  • Meany, E.S., 1923, "Origin of Washington Geographic Names", University of Washington Press, Seattle;


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.
/Regions/Places/rock_creek_klickitat.html
© 2019, Lyn Topinka, "ColumbiaRiverImages.com", All rights reserved.
Images are NOT to be downloaded from this website.
January 2016