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"
"John B. Yeon State Park, Oregon"
Includes ... John B. Yeon State Park ... McCord Creek ... Moffett Creek ... Wauneka Point ... Munra Point ...
Image, 2014, John B. Yeon State Park, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
John B. Yeon State Park, Historic Columbia River Highway, Oregon. Image taken June 5, 2014.

John B. Yeon State Park ...
John B. Yeon State Park is located on the south side of the Columbia River and stretches approximately from Columbia River Miles (RM) 141 to 145. The park was named for John Baptiste Yeon who came to Oregon in 1885. John Baptiste Yeon was a "rags to riches" story, beginning his Oregon career as a logger, and ending it as a prominant Portland citizen. He was among those who promoted the Historic Columbia River Highway.

The area ...
The mouths of both McCord Creek, Columbia River Mile (RM) 143, and Moffett Creek, RM 144, lie within the John B. Yeon State Park.

Wauneka Point rises above the John B. Yeon State Park at Columbia River Mile (RM) 143 and Munra Point rises above at RM 144. According to H.H. Riddell in his "The Lesser Waterfalls Along the Columbia" (1916): "... "Wauneka point" is the appellation given to the mountain between McCord and Moffett creeks. It means "Place of red sunsets". ..."

Downstream of the park, at RM 140, rises Yeon Mountain, also named after John B. Yeon. Also downstream lie the Oregon communities of Warrendale and Dodson. Oregon's Ainsworth State Park lies approximately two miles downstream.

Image, 2014, John B. Yeon State Park, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
John B. Yeon State Park, Historic Columbia River Highway, Oregon. Image taken June 5, 2014.

John B. Yeon State Park in 1946 ...

"The John B. Yeon State Park is situated on McCord Creek, formerly called Kelly Creek, at Mile Post 38.37, a short distance east of Warrendale. A few acres lie north of the railroad right of way with the greater portion of the area on McCord Creek and the contiguous abruptly rising, rock highlands. The tract is described as being in Section 31, Township 1 North of Range 7 East, W.M., in Multnomah County and contains 115 acres, together with certain water rights. The deed dates were July 25 and September 17, 1935.

This state park was named in honor of John B. Yeon, a contemporary of Simon Benson with whom he worked earnestly and persistently in promoting and developing the Oregon State Highway system, showing particular interest in the Columbia River Highway. He was at one time a fellow member of Mr. Benson's on the Oregon State Highway Commission, in the days of its beginnings.

The John B. Yeon state park has a high order of scenic and geologic interest. To the public the chief bid of the park is the beautiful waterfall with a total height of 289 feet. Altho a comparatively short distance from the highway, the fall is not entirely visible from the McCord Creek highway bridge, because of the intervening trees or crowding cliffs. The cliffs also preclude any ample, nearby parking space. A one car pocket is on the outer side, at the east bridge end, safe for one west bound car. Opposite this a good trail leaves the bridge end and meanders upward along the cliff side to an inner vantage point, which opens upon a superlative view of the fall, and its impressive, picturesque surroundings in this unusual exhibit of Gorge geology. There are interesting exposures of layered boulders surmounted by tremendous basalt cliffs rising in successive strata to towering heights of grandeur, which are deeply fissured or worn to forms of interest, forming a scene of secluded wierdness, where voice echoes resound eerily from beetling cliffs, as if mocked by scores of mountain nymphs, hidden in the niches and crannies of the rock walls where they are supposed to dwell.

From this obervation point the trail descends to the stream below the fall, crosses on a rustic bridge, where large, detached blocks of stone have lodged, rounds a point and circuitously climbs the west wall of the basin to Point Nesmith, rising almost vertical far above the base of the fall.

In years past a flume led from the creek along a shelf, in part natural, in part blasted from the cliff side, to the turn of the point, where the water entered a pipe conduit that carried it to a pulp mill, once situated near the creek, on the river side of the railroad. This high flume shelf is now utilized as a portion of the park trail that reaches Point Nesmith, then follows up stream some eight hundred feet to a large, creek pool. Those who are physically able, and suitably shod, should not mind making the climb and experience the thrill of walking this benched trail along the spectacular cliff side and look down upon the pouring waters of the fall and into its fascinating basin.

Note: While generally called McCord Creek Falls, we read in Lewis A. McArthur's Oregon Geographic Names, that in 1915 they were named Elowah Falls "by a committee representing the Mazamas and other organizations", with the further comment that "the name was obviously Indian but its meaning had not been determined"."

W.A. Langille, State Parks Historian.

"Picnic areas at the foot of the falls and at the top of the falls should be developed. Also on the tract bordering the river. To reach the river tract, a foot-way will have to be provided thru the railroad culvert. The flat open tract west of the creek and bordering the river owned by the Crown-Zellerback Corporation should be purchased to round out the park. This development to follow the new construction of the highway. The new highway starting at the west end of the present bridge and extending eastward will be some fifty feet south of the present alignment. The old highway beginning at the east end of the bridge and extending eastward some eight hundred feet should be brought to the same gradient as the new highway in order to provide parking space for the park."

S.H. Boardman, State Parks Superintendent, March 25, 1946.

Source:    W.A. Langille and S.H. Boardman, 1946, State Parks Historical Sketches: Columbia Gorge State Parks, courtesy of Oregon State Archives website, 2014.

John B. Yeon State Park in 1965 ...

John B. Yeon State Park is located on both sides of the upper Columbia River Highway, approximately 37 miles east of Portland in Multnomah County. Its location is further described as beginning at a point near the community of Warrendale and extending eastward approximately two miles to Tanner Creek near the Bonneville Power Project.

Establishment of this park was begun in 1935 by the purchase of two parcels of land. One was an 8-acre tract from Eric Enquist and the other was 107 acres from Crown Willamette Paper Company. Additional acreage has been purchased through the years and as of the close of 1963 a total of 284.48 acres comprises this park.

The terrain is generally steep and heavily timbered but cut by several gulches. Preservation of the good stand of maple, fir and other trees of the less valuable varieties is the reason for acquisition of these lands. There is no desirable area of suitable size for park development, therefore, no active use of the park has been made.

Naming of this area was to honor John B. Yeon, a Portland citizen who gave generously of his energy, his experience and his wealth, and who deserves considerable credit for the forward-looking program which resulted in the development of the Columbia River Highway east of Portland. He also served as Oregon State Highway Commissioner from November, 1920 to March, 1923.

The picturesque falls on McCord Creek, which passes through the property, is the principal attraction. Trails to the falls and other scenic viewpoints have been provided.

As a result of a resolution passed by the 1929 Oregon Legislature, a parcel of land now at Bonneville Dam, the Waldo Alcorn property, was named to honor John B. Yeon. When the dam was being constructed in 1933-34, the area was needed by the government. The Highway Commission then transferred the name to an area approximately one-quarter mile westerly, which area is now known as the John B. Yeon State Park.

No count of visitors was made in 1963."

Source:    Chester H. Armstrong (compiler), 1965, "History of the Oregon State Parks: 1917-1963, published by Oregon State Parks.

John B. Yeon State Scenic Corridor ...
Today (2014) the John B. Yeon State Park is known as the John B. Yeon State Scenic Corridor.

"The park was purchased from various owners between 1935 and 1956. The falls were named Elowah in 1915 by a committee of the Mazamas and other organizations. In 1935, the Civilian Conservation Corps constructed a bridge across McCord Creek and 1.5 miles of foot trail. The park was named for John B. Yeon (1865-1928) pioneer lumberman and realtor of Portland. He was a prime supporter of the Columbia River Highway. As Multnomah County Roadmaster from 1913 to 1917, Yeon supervised initial construction of the highway, complimenting his salary and backing the project financially. He served on the Oregon Highway Commission in the years 1920-1923."

Acreage: 219.29

Source:    Oregon State Parks and Recreation website, 2014.

John B. Yeon State Scenic Corridor, etc.

  • Elowah Falls Trailhead ...
  • Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail ...

Elowah Falls Trailhead ...
John B. Yeon State Park is a jumping off point for the Elowah Falls Trail. Elowah Falls is located on McCord Creek, approximately 1/2 mile up from its merging with the Columbia River.

Image, 2014, John B. Yeon State Park, Elwah Falls Trailhead, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Trailhead, Elowah Falls, John B. Yeon State Park to Cascade Locks, Oregon. Image taken June 5, 2014.

Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail ...
John B. Yeon State Park is a jumping off point for the western end of a section of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail. The biking/hiking section between the Park and Cascade Locks is 6.5 miles long. The trail passes McCord Creek at 0.33 miles and Moffett Creek in another 1.3 miles.

Image, 2014, John B. Yeon State Park, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Trailhead, Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail, John B. Yeon State Park to Cascade Locks, Oregon. Image taken June 5, 2014.
Image, 2014, John B. Yeon State Park, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Benchmark at trailhead, Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail, John B. Yeon State Park to Cascade Locks, Oregon. Image taken June 9, 2014.
Image, 2014, John B. Yeon State Park, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail at John B. Yeon State Park, Oregon. Image taken June 9, 2014.

From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, November 2, 1805 ...
Examined the rapid below us [from their camp at Fort Rains, looking at the Cascade Rapids] more pertcelarly the danger appearing too great to Hazzard our Canoes loaded, dispatched all the men who could not Swim with loads to the end of the portage below, I also walked to the end of the portage with the carriers where I delayed untill everry articles was brought over and canoes arrived Safe. here we brackfast and took a Meridn. altitude 59 45' 45" about the time we were Setting out 7 Squars came over loaded with Dried fish, and bear grass neetly bundled up, Soon after 4 Indian men came down over the rapid in a large canoe.     passed a rapid at 2 miles & 1 at 4 miles opposite the lower point of a high Island on the Lard Side [Bradford Island], and a little below 4 Houses on the Stard. Bank, a Small Creek on the Lard Side [Tanner Creek] opposit Straw berry Island [Hamilton Island], which heads below the last rapid, opposit the lower point of this Island [Hamilton Island] passed three Islands covered with tall timber [today there are two, Ives and Pierce] opposit the Beatin rock [Beacon Rock]    Those Islands are nearest the Starboard Side, imediately below on the Stard. Side passed a village of nine houses [indentified on Atlas map#79 as the "Wah-clallah Tribe of Shahala Nation", location near today's Skamania and Skamania Landing], which is Situated between 2 Small Creeks [Woodard Creek and Duncan Creek], and are of the Same construction of those above; here the river widens to near a mile, and the bottoms are more extensive and thickly timbered, as also the high mountains on each Side, with Pine, Spruce pine, Cotton wood, a Species of ash, and alder.     at 17 miles passed a rock near the middle of the river [Phoca Rock], about 100 feet high and 80 feet Diamuter,     proceed on down a Smoth gentle Stream of about 2 miles wide, in which the tide has its effect as high as the Beaten rock [Beacon Rock] or the Last rapids at Strawberry Island [Hamilton Island],- Saw great numbers of waterfowl of Different kinds, Such as Swan, Geese, white & grey brants, ducks of various kinds, Guls, & Pleaver [today just below Beacon Rock is Franz National Wildlife Refuge]. ...     we encamped under a high projecting rock on the Lard. Side [Rooster Rock, with Crown Point rising above it],     here the mountains leave the river on each Side [leaving the Columbia River Gorge, Steigerwald Land NWR is on the north and the Sandy River delta is on the south], which from the great Shute to this place is high and rugid [Columbia River Gorge]; thickly Covered with timber principalley of the Pine Species. The bottoms below appear extensive and thickly Covered with wood.     river here about 2 miles wide.     Seven Indians in a Canoe on their way down to trade with the nativs below, encamp with us, those we left at the portage passed us this evening and proceeded on down The ebb tide rose here about 9 Inches, the flood tide must rise here much higher- we made 29 miles to day from the Great Shute [Cascade Locks]-

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

  • Armstrong, C.H., (compiler), 1965, "History of the Oregon State Parks: 1917-1963, published by Oregon State Parks;
  • McArthur, L.A., and McArthur, L.L., 2003, Oregon Geographic Names, Oregon Historical Society Press, Portland;
  • Riddell, H.H., 1916, "The Lesser Waterfalls Along the Columbia": IN: Mazama, December 1916, vol.V, no.1;

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.
© 2019, Lyn Topinka, "ColumbiaRiverImages.com", All rights reserved.
Images are NOT to be downloaded from this website.
June 2014