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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"The Dalles Dam"
Includes ... The Dalles Dam ... The Dalles Bridge ... The Dalles Ferry ... Lake Celilo ...
Image, 2011, The Dalles Dam, from the Oregon side, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
The Dalles Dam. View from hills above The Dalles, Oregon. Image taken June 4, 2011.


The Dalles Dam ...
The Dalles Dam is located in the Columbia River at River Mile (RM) 191.5, at the foot of the (now flooded) "Short Narrows" or "Fivemile Rapids". Two miles downstream from the Dam is Rock Fort, Lewis and Clark's campsite of October 25-27, 1805 and again April 15-17, 1806. Also downstream is the Oregon city of The Dalles. One mile upstream is Spearfish Lake, where Lewis and Clark spent the night of April 18, 1806.

The Dam and Locks ...
The Dalles Dam extends one and 1/2 miles from the Oregon shore to the navigation lock on the Washington shore. Because the boundary between the two states follows the old river channel, The Dalles Dam is almost entirely in the state of Washington. The dam complex consists of a navigation lock, 1,380-foot-long spillway, 23 gates, powerhouse and fish passage facilities. The dam was completed in 1957. The filling of Lake Celilo that March inundated Celilo Falls and the famous "Long" (Fivemile Rapids) and "Short Narrows" (Tenmile Rapids).

Image, 2011, The Dalles Navigation Lock, The Dalles, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
The Dalles Navigation Lock, The Dalles Dam, The Dalles, Oregon. View from moving car on Interstate 197 Bridge. Image taken October 6, 2011.


Historic The Dalles - Celilo Canal and Locks ...
The historic Dalles - Celilo Canal was completed in 1915, creating a steamboat waterway around the Fivemile Rapids ("Long Narrows"), Tenmile Rapids ("Short Narrows"), and Celilo Falls. It provided a clear journey to Lewiston, Idaho. The canal was 8.6 miles long with it's lower end located 3.3 miles above The Dalles The demise of the canal came in 1957 with construction of The Dalles Dam and Locks.
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Lake Celilo ...
Lake Celilo is the 24-mile-long impoundment behind the The Dalles Dam. The Dalles Dam was completed in 1957, and the rising waters of Lake Celilo inundated Celilo Falls, plus the "Long" (Fivemile Rapids) and "Short Narrows" (Tenmile Rapids).
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Image, 2004, Lake Celilo, looking downstream towards The Dalles, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Lake Celilo, looking downstream towards The Dalles. Mount Hood, Oregon, and Horsethief Butte, Washington are visible. Image taken April 24, 2004.


Views of The Dalles Dam ...
Less than one mile downstream of The Dalles Dam is The Dalles Bridge (U.S. 197), connecting The Dalles, Oregon, with Murdock and Dallesport in Washington State.

Image, 2011, The Dalles Dam, from the Oregon side, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
The Dalles Dam. View from hills above The Dalles, Oregon. Image taken June 4, 2011.
Image, 2011, The Dalles Dam, from the Oregon side, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
The Dalles Bridge and The Dalles Dam. Once this was the location of a ferry across the Columbia. View from hills above The Dalles, Oregon. Image taken June 4, 2011.
Image, 2011, The Dalles Bridge across the Columbia River, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
The Dalles Bridge across the Columbia River. View from the Oregon side of the Columbia River. Image taken June 4, 2011.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, October 25, 1805 ...
a cool morning [their camp was near Horsethief Butte] Capt Lewis and my Self walked down to See the place the Indians pointed out as the worst place in passing through the gut, which we found difficuelt of passing without great danger, but as the portage was impractiable with our large Canoes, we Concluded to Make a portage of our most valuable articles and run the canoes thro accordingly on our return divided the party Some to take over the Canoes, and others to take our Stores across a portage of a mile to a place on the Chanel below this bad whorl & Suck, with Some others I had fixed on the Chanel with roapes to throw out to any who Should unfortunately meet with difficuelty in passing through; great number of Indians viewing us from the high rocks under which we had to pass, the 3 first Canoes passed thro very well, the 4th nearly filled with water, the last passed through by takeing in a little water, <we> thus Safely below what I conceved to be the worst part of this Chanel, felt my Self extreamly gratified and pleased. we loaded the Canoes & Set out, and had not proceeded, more than two mile before the unfortunate Canoe which filled crossing the bad place above, run against a rock and was in great danger of being lost, This Chanel is through a hard rough black rock, from 50100 yards wide. Swelling and boiling in a most tremendious maner Several places on which the Indians inform me they take the Salmon as fast as they wish; we passed through a deep bason to the stard Side ["Big Eddy", today Spearfish Lake] of 1 mile below which the River narrows and divided by a rock The Curent we found quit jentle, ...    we landed ...     we proceeded on down the water fine, rocks in every derection for a fiew miles when the river widens and becoms a butifull jentle Stream of about half a mile wide, Great numbers of the Sea Orter [Harbor Seals] about those narrows and both below and above. we Came too, under a high point of rocks on the Lard. Side below a creek [Mill Creek] of 20 yards wide and much water, as it was necessary to make Some Selestial observations we formed our Camp on the top of a high point of rocks [Rock Fort], which forms a kind of <artif> fortification in the Point between the river & Creek [Mill Creek], with a boat guard, this Situation we Concieve well Calculated for defence, and Conveniant to hunt under the foots of the mountain to the West & S. W. where timber of different kinds grows, and appears to be handsom Coverts for the Deer, in oke woods, ...   

This litle Creek [Mill Creek] heads in the range of mountains which run S S W & N W for a long distance on which is Scattering pine white Oake &c. The Pinical of the round toped mountain which we Saw a Short distance below the forks of this river is S. 43 W. of us and abt 37 miles, it is at this time toped with Snow we called this the falls mountain or Timm mountain [Mount Hood].     The face of the Countrey, on both Side of the river above and about the falls, is Steep ruged and rockey open and contain but a Small preportion of erbage, no timber a fiew bushes excepted, The nativs at the upper falls raft their timber down Towarnehooks River [Deschutes River] & those at the narrows take theirs up the river to the lower part of the narrows from this Creek, and Carry it over land 3 miles to their houses &c. at the mouth of this creek ...





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*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: Center for Columbia River History website, 2004; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website, 2004, Portland District; Washington State "HistoryLink.org" website, 2006.

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.
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June 2011