Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Youngs River, Oregon"
Includes ... Youngs River ... "Kil-haw-a-nak-kle River" ... Youngs River Falls ... Old Youngs Bay Bridge ... Cook Slough ... Daggett Point ... Tide Point ... Campsite of November 30 - December 1, 1805 (Lewis) ...
Image, 2005, Youngs River from Coxcomb Hill, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Youngs River, Oregon, as seen from Coxcomb Hill. Mouth of the Youngs River entering Youngs Bay. Image taken April 19, 2005.


Youngs River ...
Youngs River empties into Youngs Bay east of the Lewis and Clark River. Good views of Youngs River can be had from Coxcomb Hill, the location of the Astoria Column.

Lieutenant Brougton and Youngs River, 1792 ...
In 1792, Lieutenant William Broughton, of the Captain George Vancouver expedition, entered Youngs Bay and explored the bay, passing the mouth of the Youngs River and exploring 7 miles up the Lewis and Clark River. That is the river he named "Young's River" after Sir George Young of the British Royal Navy. Throughout the years the name transfered to today's Youngs River and Young's Bay.

"... As the party approached the centre, or rather the S.E. corner of the Bay, they discovered a small river whose entrance was about two cables length in width, and the depth of water five fathoms. By the shores it appeared to be high water, yet the stream attended them up the river, which now took a south easterly direction, in a winding form, and branched off into several creeks. After advancing about seven miles the width decreased to _____ (unreadable in my copy) fathoms, and it being then high water, any further examination was deemed unnecessary. The evening at this time having nearly closed in, the party returned about a mile, and took up their residence for the night on the bank of the river, which, after Sir George Young of the royal navy, Mr. Broughton distinguished by the name of Young's River; whose termination was suppose to have been seen by some of the party, but Mr. Broughton was of opinion, from the strength of the tide, that its source was at some distance. ..." [Broughton/Vancouver, October 22, 1792]

For years scholars assumed Broughton's "Young's River" was today's Youngs River. However current research shows that the "Young's River" on Broughton's map matches up nicely with todays "Lewis and Clark River" appearing on other early Columbia River and topographic maps, and even today's current maps.


Lewis and Clark and Youngs River, 1805 and 1806 ...
In 1805, the Lewis and Clark expedition called Youngs Bay "Meriwether Bay" to honor Captain Meriwether Lewis, and they called Youngs River the "Kil-haw'-a-nak-kle River". On the draft map [Moulton, vol.1, map#84] a native name - "Kil how a na Me" - identified the river.

"... Sent Shannon Labuish and Frazier this morning on a hunting excurtion up the Kil-haw'-a-nak-kle river which discharges itself into the head of the bay. ..." [Lewis, February 16, 1806]

"... Sent Shannon Labiesh and frazier on a hunting excurtion up the Kil-haw-a-nak-kle river which discharges itself into the head of Meriwethers Bay. ..." [Clark, February 16, 1806]

"... the Indian Name of the River they went up is Kil how-a-nk-kle and this River which we are on Ne-tul ..." [Gass, March 1, 1806]

The "Ne-tul" is today's Lewis and Clark River.


Campsite of November 30 and December 1, 1805 (Captain Lewis) ...
On November 29, 1805, Captain Lewis and five men left the main camp at Tongue Point and proceeded down the Oregon side of the Columbia River looking for a place for their winter camp. Their camp of November 29 was approximately 2 miles into Youngs Bay along the eastern shore. On November 30, Lewis and his men proceeded around Youngs Bay and explored the Skipanon River and the Lewis and Clark River. They set up their camp of November 30, 1805, on Youngs River, approximately 6 miles up from its mouth with Youngs Bay.

"... continued our rout up the large arm of the bay about 6 miles and encamped on the Stard. side on the highland. the water was quite sweet. therefore concluded that it must be supplyed from a large crick. at our camp it is 120 yds. wide, tho' it gets narrower above. <about 2 miles> ..." [Lewis, November 30, 1805]

On December 1, 1805, Captain Lewis was still at camp on the Youngs River. Here his journal entries end, giving no indication where he went from that camp. Captain Lewis rejoined Captain Clark at Tongue Point on December 5.



Youngs River, etc.

  • Cook Slough and Daggett Point ...
  • "Tide Point" ...
  • Youngs River Falls ...


Cook Slough and Daggett Point ...
Cook Slough enters Youngs River near its mouth, just upstream of the Youngs Bay Bridge. Daggett Point is the land to the east of Cook Slough. Both are nicely visible from Coxcomb Hill and the Astoria Column.
[More]

Image, 2005, Cook Slough and Daggett Point, Astoria, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Cook Slough and Daggett Point (land lower left), as seen from Coxcomb Hill. The channel of Youngs River is just out-of-sight in the foreground. Image taken April 19, 2005.


"Tide Point"...
"Tide Point" is a local reference to a small point into Youngs River just upstream of the Youngs River Bridge. A restaurant/grocery/docks is located there. Great views can be had of Youngs River and Youngs Bay from the deck of the restaurant (good food too). Directly across from "Tide Point" is "Daggett Point", a slough area on the west bank of Youngs River.


Youngs River Falls ...
Youngs River Falls is a 65-foot falls on the Youngs River, approximately 10 miles up the western fork of Youngs River. Hunters of the Lewis and Clark expedition discovered the falls in March 1806.

"... I set out with 8 men and 4 hunters to bring the meat of the elk that had been killed, which was at a greater distance from the fort than any we had yet brought in. There is a large river ... upon which, about 20 miles from its mouth, our hunters discovered falls which had about 60 feet of a perpendicular pitch. ..." [Gass, March 1, 1806]

"... The hunters who were out last informed me that they discovered a very Considerable fall in the Kil-haw--nack-kle River on its main western fork at which place it falls abt. 100 feet from the Side of a mountain S. E. about 6 miles from Fort Clatsop and nearly 15 from its enterance into the bay by the Meanderings of this river a high mountain is Situated S 60 W. about 18 miles from Fort Clatsop on which there has been Snow Since Nov. ..." [Clark, March 5, 1806]


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Lewis, November 30, 1805 ...
cloudy morning set out before sun rise and continued our rout up the bey [Youngs Bay] -

S. 60 E. 1 to a point. land not very high and open woods a little back from the bay

S. 80 E. 3 m. to the center of a bend passing a point at 1 m. land the <same as in last course> from the commenct. of this course

S. 35 W. 2 m across the bay to a point of marshey ground which for three miles in width borders this coast-

S. 60 W 2 m. to a point of marshey ground-

S. 50 W m. to a marshey point at arm of the bay. from this point a point of highland bore

S. 25 E. 3 miles distant-

N. 80 W. 2 to a marshey point passing the arm [Youngs River] of the bey [Youngs Bay] of a mile wide --- the country to the S. E. appears to be low for a great distance and is marshey and untimbered for three miles back, from this point, the eastern point or commencement of the bay [Youngs Bay] bore N. 15 E. 3 miles.-

N. 60 W. 3 miles passing an inlet [Lewis and Clark River] of 100 yds. wide at 4 m. to a point of marshey ground, here an inlet [Skipanon River] of from 40 to 60 yds. in width comes in just opposite to the upper point of a shore which we have heretofore thought and island but which I am now convinced is the main land [Point Adams]. we asscended this stream [Skipanon River] about 2 m. it's course being S. 15 E. we halted near a small cops of timbered land to which we walked and dined <after which>

Sent out three men to examin the country to the S. & W. they returned after about 2 hours and informed me that the wood was so thick and obstructed by marrasses & lakes that they were unable to proceed to the ocean which could not be at any considerable distance from the apparent sound of the waves breaking on the Coast. we now returned and asscended the inlet which we had last passd [Lewis and Clark River] no fresh appearance of Elk or deer in our rout so far. asscend the inlet as we intended about 1 m. found it became much smaller and that it did not keep it's direction to the high land which boar S. 10 W. but inclined West. therefore returned to the large arm of the bay which we passed this morning [Youngs River], here we expect to meet with the Clt-sop Indians, who have tantilized us with there being much game in their neighbourhood. this information in fact was the cause of my present resurch, for where there is most game is for us the most eliguble winter station.- continued our rout up the large arm of the bay [Youngs River and Youngs Bay] about 6 miles and encamped on the Stard. side on the highland. the water was quite sweet. therefore concluded that it must be supplyed from a large crick. at our camp it is 120 yds. wide, tho' it gets narrower above. <about 2 miles> it rained but little on us today tho' it was cloudy generally.- Wind from N. E.- saw a great abundance of fowls, brant, large geese, white brant sandhill Cranes, common blue crains, cormarants, haulks, ravens, crows, gulls and a great variety of ducks, the canvas back, duckinmallard, black and white diver, brown duck- &c &c-






Clark, December 7, 1805 ...
Some rain from 10 to 12 last night, this morning fair, have every thing put on board the Canoes and Set out to the place Capt Lewis had viewed and thought well Situated for winter quarters [Fort Clatsop] - we proceeded on against the tide to a point [Smith Point, Astoria] about [blank] miles here we met Sergt Pryor and his party returning to the Camp we had left without any meat, the waves verry verry high, as much as our Canoes Could bear rendered it impossible to land for the party, we proceeded on around the point [Smith Point, Astoria] into the bay [Youngs Bay] and landed to take brackfast on 2 Deer which had been killed & hung up, one of which we found the other had been taken off by [s]ome wild animal probably Panthors or the Wild [cat?] of this Countrey ... I delayed about half an hour before York Came up, and then proceeded around this Bay which I have taken the liberty of calling Meriwethers Bay [Youngs Bay] the Cristian name of Capt. Lewis who no doubt was the 1st white man who ever Surveyed this Bay, we assended a river [Lewis and Clark River] which falls in on the South Side of this Bay [Youngs Bay] 3 miles to the first point of high land on the West Side, the place Capt. Lewis had viewed and formed in a thick groth of pine about 200 yards from the river [Fort Clatsop], this situation is on a rise about 30 feet higher than the high tides leavel and thickly Covered with lofty pine. this is certainly the most eligable Situation for our purposes of any in its neighbourhood.

Meriwethers Bay [Youngs Bay] is about 4 miles across deep & receves 2 rivers the Kil how--nah-kle [Youngs River] and the Ne tul [Lewis and Clark River] and Several Small Creeks - we had a hard wind from the N. E. and Some rain about 12 oClock to day which lasted 2 hours and Cleared away. From the Point above Meriwethers Bay [Smith Point, Astoria, above Youngs Bay] to Point Adams [Point Adams, Oregon] is West

to point Disapointment [Cape Disappointment] is N. 75 W."






Gass, March 1, 1806 ...
We had a cloudy wet morning. I set out with 8 men and 4 hunters to bring the meat of the elk that had been killed, which was at a greater distance from the fort than any we had yet brought in. There is a large river that flows into the southeast part of Hayley's Bay [mistake, "Haley's Bay" is Baker Bay on the Washington side of the Columbia. Gass meant "Meriwether's Bay", today's Youngs Bay]; upon which, about 20 miles from its mouth, our hunters discovered falls [Youngs River Falls], which had about 60 feet of a perpendicular pitch.



Ordway, March 1, 1806 ...
a fair morning. twelve men Set out after the Elk meat. the day Showery and wet. in the evening the party returned except four who Stayed out to hunt & brought in the meat. the Indian Name of the River they went up is Kil how-a-nk-kle [Youngs River] and this River which we are on Ne-tul [Lewis and Clark River].


Whitehouse, March 1, 1806 ...
A pleasant morning, Twelve Men left the fort to go after the Elk meat. About noon the two hunters that were out returned to the fort, & had not killed any kind of game. The afternoon proved Showery & wet. In the evening, the party that went after the Elk meat returned, & brought the meat with them. Four of our Men went out hunting. they went up a River called by the Natives Ir-rum-mack-hill [Youngs River], & the River that our Fort lay near [Fort Clatsop], is called by the Natives Ne-tul [Lewis and Clark River]     These hunters staid out all night





Clark, March 5, 1806 ...
The hunters who were out last informed me that they discovered a very Considerable fall in the Kil-haw--nack-kle River [Youngs River and Youngs River Falls] on its main western fork at which place it falls abt. 100 feet from the Side of a mountain S. E. about 6 miles from Fort Clatsop [Fort Clatsop, on the Lewis and Clark River] and nearly 15 from its enterance into the bay [Youngs Bay] by the Meanderings of this river [Youngs River]

a high mountain is Situated S 60 W. about 18 miles from Fort Clatsop on which there has been Snow Since Nov. [possibly Saddle Mountain, although according to Moulton (vol.6) from Fort Clatsop Saddle Mountain would be closer to S60oE.]





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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:    Oregon Department of Transportation 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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August 2009