Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"The Columbia River Regions"
"The Columbia River - A Photographic Journey" includes over 5,000 images of geographic areas and interesting items along 330-plus miles of the Columbia River, covering the area seen by Lewis and Clark in 1805 and 1806. The journey has images from the Yakima River and Bateman Island downstream past the Snake River and through the Wallula Gap, past the basalt hills of the Columbia Plateau, through the impressive Columbia River Gorge and into the flat plains of the Vancouver/Portland area, and finally to the Lower Columbia River and Cape Disappointment and the Pacific Ocean. This collection of images began in 2002 and is constantly being updated and added to. The journey has been broken down into five geographic regions. Welcome and enjoy your trip.

Image, 2003, Snake River Confluence Snake River Confluence:

Where the Snake meets the mightly Columbia ... from Bateman Island to the Wallula Gap ...

On October 16, 1805, Lewis and Clark's "Corps of Discovery" arrived at the confluence of the Snake River with the mighty Columbia River. They camped near the location of today's Sacajawea State Park, explored the Columbia River upstream as far as Bateman Island, and on October 18, 1805, Lewis and Clark began their journey down the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean. They reached the Washington Coast on November 15, 1805.

Image, 2003, Columbia Plateau Columbia Plateau:

Lava flows, basalts, plateaus, and high ridges ... from downstream the Wallula Gap to The Dalles, Oregon ...

During late Miocene and early Pliocene times (between 17 and 6 million years ago), one of the largest basaltic lava floods ever to appear on the earths surface engulfed about 63,000 square miles of the Pacific Northwest. Over a period of perhaps 10 to 15 million years lava flow after lava flow poured out, eventually accumulating to a thickness of more than 6,000 feet. Over 300 high-volume individual lava flows have been identified, along with countless smaller flows. Numerous linear vents, some over 90 miles long, show where lava erupted near the eastern edge of the Columbia River Basalts. Older vents were probably buried by younger flows. As the molten rock came to the surface, the earth's crust gradually sank into the space left by the rising lava. The subsidence of the crust produced a large, slightly depressed lava plain now known as the Columbia Basin or Columbia Plateau. The ancient Columbia River was forced into its present course by the northwesterly advancing lava.

Image, 2005, Columbia River Gorge Columbia River Gorge:

Trees, cliffs, and spectacular waterfalls ... from The Dalles, Oregon, to just upstream of Cottonwood Beach, Washougal, Washington ...

The Columbia River Gorge is a spectacular river canyon cutting the only sea-level route through the Cascade Mountain Range. The Gorge is 80 miles long and up to 4,000 feet deep with the north canyon walls in Washington State and the south canyon walls in Oregon. Six to 17 million years ago, the Columbia River Plateau was created by a series of basalt flows known today as the Columbia River Basalt. The flows covered over 63,000 square miles -- portions of northeast Oregon, southwest Washington and western Idaho, and consisted of about 300 individual flows. As the basalt flooded the regions lowest areas the lava filled canyons and permanently altered the Columbia River's path on several occasions. At one time the Columbia River passed through the Cascade Range and met the Pacific Ocean north of Newport, Oregon. Each new channel of the river was destroyed by the next flow. Today, these flows are exposed along the cliffs of the Columbia River Gorge. Crown Point for example represents a lava flow which filled an old Columbia River channel about 14.5 million years ago. The last "move" of the Columbia River occurred about six to two million years ago with lava flows forcing the Columbia north into its present channel. Soon after the Cascade Rage "uplifted" and the Columbia River Gorge began to form as the river cut its present-day canyon through the Cascades.

Image, 2007, Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, click to enlarge Vancouver Plains:

Islands and wildlife ... from Cottonwood Beach Camp to Longview, Washington, and the mouth of the Cowlitz River ...

The Columbia River leaves the Columbia River Gorge about 20 miles east of Portland, Oregon and enters the "Columbian Valley" or the "Vancouver Plains", where the river valley widens to include a broad floodplain. Elongated islands divide the river and form sloughs and side-channels in the formerly marshy lowlands. The valley stretches between the Sandy River on the east (Lewis and Clark's "Quicksand River") and the Cowlitz River on the west.

Image, 2003, Pacific Ocean Journey to the Pacific:

The last 50 miles ... from Longview, Washington, to the Pacific Ocean ...

Downstream from St. Helens, Oregon, the Columbia River cuts through the Coast Range, where the river is bordered by steep-shouldered bluffs and broad alluvial floodplains. The river is dotted with low islands of deposited sediments and opens out below Skamokawa, Washington, into several broad bays that extend more than 30 miles to the Pacific Ocean. The lower part of the river is known as the Columbia River estuary, one of the West Coast's largest estuaries, encompassing more than 80,000 acres.

Image, 2004, Campsites Lewis and Clark Campsites:

From Sacajawea State Park to Fort Clatsop ... October 1805 through April 1806

March 2015