Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Wells Island, Oregon"
Includes ... Wells Island ... "Morrison Island" ...
Image, 2006, Columbia River as seen from the Columbia Gorge Hotel, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Columbia River as seen from the Columbia Gorge Hotel, Hood River, Oregon. Wells Island is on the right. Image taken May 10, 2006.

Wells Island ...
Wells Island is located on the Oregon side of the Columbia River at River Mile (RM) 167.5, just northwest of the city of Hood River. Two miles downstream is Ruthton Point and one mile downstream is Wah Gwin Gwin Falls and the Columbia Gorge Hotel. Across the Columbia on the Washington side is the Spring Creek Fish Hatchery. Wells Island is approximately 1/2 mile long and 1/4 mile wide and is a result of the filling of the Bonneville Reservoir, the pool behind the Bonneville Dam.

"... The island is covered with willow and cottonwood trees and meadows, where cattle formerly grazed in the summer. It is one of the best bird habitats in the Bonneville Pool portion of the Columbia Gorge. Many Canada geese nest, brood and graze on it, and it supports an active heron rookery at its western end. There are also other bird species, including several bald eagles, which use it regularly ..." [Friends of the Columbia River Gorge website, 2006]

Nice views of Wells Island can be had from the Columbia Gorge Hotel, and from the Washington side of the Columbia River along the Cook-Underwood Road.

Early Wells Island ...
According to "Oregon Geographic Names" (2003, McArthur and McArthur, Oregon Historical Society):

"Wells Island (HOOD RIVER) ... This island is in the Columbia River just west of Hood River town. Before Bonneville Dam was built, it was part of the mainland. It later was called Morrison Island for its owner, George Morrison. In March 1940, it was purchased by Dr. Stanley E. Wells of Hood River, and it has been known as Wells Island ever since."

In 1986 the U.S. Board of Geographic Names made "Wells Island" the official name.

Views ...

Image, 2006, Columbia Gorge Hotel, Hood River, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Columbia River looking upstream towards Hood River, Oregon, with Wells Island. Hood River lies within the Hood River - White Salmon River Syncline. The White Salmon River is just visible at the middle left edge of the image (a white house sits above left bank of the White Salmon River). View from the Cook-Underwood Road, Washington. The island on the right is Wells Island. Image taken May 10, 2006.

From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, October 29, 1805 ...

Columbia River GorgeReturn 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

  • Friends of the Columbia Gorge website, 2006;
  • McArthur, L.A., and McArthur, L.L., 2004, "Oregon Geographic Names", Oregon Historical Society Press, Portland;
  • U.S. Geological Survey's Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) database, 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.
September 2008