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"
"Rowena Gap (Ortley Gap), Washington/Oregon"
Includes ... Rowena Gap ... Rowena Crest ... Rowena ... Rowena Basalts ... Missoula Floods ... Tom McCall Preserve ... "Upper Cape Horn" ... "Cape Horn" ... "Pilgrim Rocks" ... "Perpendicular Rocks" ...
Image, 2004, Rowena Gap, Washington side, from Mayer State Park, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Rowena Gap basalts, Washington side, view from Mayer State Park, Oregon. The Rowena Gap is where the Columbia River carved a channel through the Ortley Anticline. Image taken November 11, 2004.


Rowena Gap/Ortley Gap ...
The Rowena Gap, also known as the "Ortley Gap", is a water gap in the Columbia River Basalts and is located upstream of the mouth of the Klickitat River and Lyle, Washington, and, on the Oregon side, upstream of Mayer State Park and Rowena Crest and downstream of Crate's Point.

Rowena Gap Lava Flows ...
The Rowena Gap, also known as the "Ortley Gap", is 5.5 miles long by one-mile wide water gap, and resulted when the Columbia River carved a narrow channel through the Ortley Anticline, a folded feature of the Columbia River Basalts. The basalt face on the Washington side of the gap is the western edge of the Ortley Anticline known as the "Columbia Hills". The Oregon side of the Ortley Anticline is known as the "Rowena Basalts". Six separate basalt flows can be counted in the 1,000-foot-high cliffs of the Rowena Gap. One particularly spectacular flow on the Oregon side of the Columbia River was originally known as "Cape Horn", before that name became attached to a basalt cliff further downstream.
[More]

Rowena Gap and the Missoula Floods ...
The Rowena water gap was a major constriction in the path of the Missoula Floods. Flood waters backed up for miles upstream and an eddy bar developed downstream.
[More]

Image, 2013, Chamberlain Lake, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Chamberlain Lake as seen from Washington Highway 14, Washington. View looking east from moving car. Image taken June 15, 2013.


Early Rowena Gap ...
Lewis and Clark passed through this area on October 29, 1805.

"... the mountains are high on each Side, containing Scattering pine white oake & under groth, hill Sides Steep and rockey; ..." [Clark, October 29, 1805]

"... The Country this day is very Mountaineous & has high Clifts of Rocks lying on each side of the River. The Country here abounds with Timber of Pine & Cotton wood.- ..." [Whitehouse, October 29, 1805]

Captain Clark called the Rowena Gap "Pilgrim rocks", not as the men passed the feature on October 29, 1805, but later in his journal on December 7, 1805 as he wrote down distances. The "Catteract River" is the Klickitat River, located across the Columbia from Rowena Crest.

"... From Timm or long narrows to the first village Std. Side ... 14 ... To friendly village ... 6 ... To Pilgrim rocks ... 7 ... To Catteract River 2 Vllg ... 11 ..." [Clark, December 7, 1805, first draft]

Early explorers such as John Work in 1825 and Ross Cox in 1832 called the large basalt flow on the Oregon side of the Rowena Gap "Cape Horn". This basalt flow was the original Cape Horn on the Columbia River.

On the Columbia River inset to the "Map of the Oregon Territory", 1841, by Charles Wilkes of the U.S. Exploring Expedition, the Oregon side of the Rowena Gap was labeled "Upper Cape Horn". Across the river the White Salmon River was labeled the "Cathlatates R.", and upstream of the "Cathlatates R." the Washington side of the Rowena Gap was labeled "Perpendicular Rocks".

The U.S. Board of Geographic Names made the name "Rowena Gap" official in 1966, and states the Gap is 5.5 miles long by 1 mile wide.


Views ...

Image, 2006, Rowena Crest and Interstate 84, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Rowena Crest and Interstate 84, Oregon. View from moving car on Interstate 84 heading west. Image taken October 2, 2006.
Image, 2006, Rowena Cliffs and Interstate 84, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Rowena basalts and Interstate 84, Oregon. View is through car window as seen from Interstate 84 heading west. Image taken October 2, 2006.
Image, 2004, Rowena Gap, Washington side, from Interstate 84, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Rowena Gap basalts, Washington side, as seen from Interstate 84, Oregon. Image taken November 11, 2004.
Image, 2004, Rowena Gap basalts, Washington side, from Mayer State Park, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Rowena Gap basalts, Washington side, from Mayer State Park, Oregon. Image taken November 11, 2004.
Image, 2004, Rowena Gap, Oregon side, from Mayer State Park, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Rowena Gap basalts, Oregon side, as seend from Mayer State Park, Oregon. Image taken November 11, 2004.
Image, 2004, Rowena Basalts, Oregon side, from Mayer State Park, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Rowena basalts, Oregon side, as seen from Mayer State Park, Oregon. Image taken November 11, 2004.


Rowena Gap, etc.

  • Cape Horns of the Columbia River ...
  • Rowena Crest ...


Cape Horns of the Columbia River ...
Throughout history there have been five different features named "Cape Horn" located along the Columbia River, one of them being a basalt flow at today's Rowena Gap. This was the first "Columbia River Cape Horn".
[More]

Image, 2005, Rowena Gap, Oregon, from Chamberlain Lake, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Rowena Gap Basalt Flow, Oregon, from Chamberlain Lake Rest Area, Washington. Image taken June 4, 2005.


Rowena Crest ...
On the Oregon side of the Rowena Gap lies a prominent feature called Rowena Crest. Rowena Crest is a viewpoint along the Historic Columbia River Highway.
[More]

Image, 2004, Rowena Crest, Oregon, from Mayer State Park, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Rowena Crest, Oregon, (upper left), as seen from Mayer State Park, Oregon. Image taken November 11, 2004.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, October 29, 1805 ...
A cloudy morning wind from the West but not hard, we Set out at day light [from their camp on Rocky Island at Crates Point], and proceeded on about five miles Came too on the Stard. Side at a village of 7 houses built in the Same form and materials of those above, here we found the Chief we had Seen at the long narrows [The Dalles] ...     they are hospitable and good humered Speak the Same language of the inhabitants of the last village, we call this the friendly village [vicinity of Dougs Beach]. ...     after brackfast we proceeded on, the mountains are high on each Side [high basalt cliffs of the Rowena Gap, with Rowena Crest on the south and the Chamberlain Lake area on the north], containing Scattering pine white oake & under groth, hill Sides Steep and rockey; at 4 miles lower we observed a Small river falling in with great rapidity on the Stard. Side [Klickitat River] below which is a village of 11 houses [today the town of Lyle is on the upstream side of the Klickitat], here we landed to Smoke a pipe with the nativs and examine the mouth of the river, which I found to be 60 yards wide rapid and deep, The inhabitants of the village are friendly and Chearfull; those people inform us also those at the last village that this little river is long and full of falls, no Salmon pass up it, it runs from N. N. E. that ten nations live on this river and its waters, on buries, and what game that Can kill with their Bow & arrows

we purchased 4 dogs and Set out- (this village is the of the Same nation of the one we last passed) and proceeded on The Countrey on each side begin to be thicker timbered with Pine and low white Oake; verry rockey and broken [passing Mayer State Park on the Oregon side]. passed three large rocks in The river the middle rock is large long and has Several Squar vaults on it. we call this rockey Island the Sepulchar [Memaloose Island] - The last river we passed we Shall Call the Cataract River [Klickitat River] from the number of falls which the Indians say is on it- passed 2 Lodges of Indians a Short distance below the Sepulchar Island [Memaloose Island] on the Stard. Side river wide, at 4 mile passed 2 houses on the Stard. Side, Six miles lower passed 4 houses above the mouth of a Small river 40 yards wide on the Lard. Side [Hood River]    a thick timbered bottom above & back of those houses; those are the first houses which we have Seen on the South Side of the Columbia River, (and the axess to those dificuelt) for fear of the approach of their common enemies the Snake Indians, passed 14 houses on the Std. Side Scattered on the bank- from the mouth of this little river which we shall Call Labeasche River [Hood River], the falls mountain [Mount Hood] is South and the top is covered with Snow.    one mile below pass the mouth of a large rapid Stream on the Stard. Side [White Salmon River], opposit to a large Sand bar [from Hood River], in this creek the Indians above take their fish, here we Saw Several canoes, which induced us to call this Canoe Creek [White Salmon River] it is 28 yards wide, about 4 miles lower and below the Sand bar [Hood River sandbar] is a butifull cascade falling over a rock of about 100 feet [Wah Gwin Gwin Falls, location of the Columbia Gorge Hotel],

[On the route map (Moulton, vol.1, map#78) a "C___ Spring" is shown on the north side of the river, today the location of Spring Creek and Spring Creek Fish Hatchery, with no mention of it in any text. On the south side, at the location of Wah Gwin Gwin Falls, only "Cascade" is labeled and "4 Houses of Indians".]

a Short distance lower passed 4 Indian houses on the Lard. Side in a timbered bottom, a fiew miles further we came too at 3 houses on Stard. Side, back of which is a pond [today the location of Drano Lake. The Little White Salmon River empties into Drano Lake.] in which I Saw Great numbers of Small Swan, Capt. Lewis and went into the houses of those people ...     Here the mountains are high on each Side, those to the Lard. Side has Some Snow on them at this time, more timber than above and of greater variety.





Columbia River GorgeReturn 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: McArthur, L.A., and McArthur, L.L., 2003, Oregon Geographic Names, Oregon Historical Society Press, Portland; NOAA Office of Coast Survey website, 2005; U.S. Geological Survey, Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) website, 2006; Washington State Historical Society website, 2005, "Lasting Legacy".

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/rowena_gap.html
© 2017, Lyn Topinka, "ColumbiaRiverImages.com", All rights reserved.
Images are NOT to be downloaded from this website.
April 2009