Note: These points of interest are designated on the state highway map (pdf 4.1 mb).
1 Confluence of Snake and Clearwater Rivers.
On October 10, 1805 Lewis and Clark entered present Washington State. Clark wrote, “The Countrey about two forks is an open Plain on either Side...the water of the South fork is a greenish blue, the north as clear as cristial.” “our diet extremely bad...”
2 Texas Rapids. (“a bad rapid...”) “The hills or assents from the water is faced with a dark ruged Stone.” - William Clark, Oct. 12, 1805.
3 Confluence of Snake and Columbia Rivers. “proceeded on...to the junction of this river (Snake) and the Columbia which joins from the N.W.” “In every direction from the junction of those rivers the Countrey is one Continued plain...except a range of high Countrey which runs from S.W & N E...” (today’s Horse Heaven Hills).
- William Clark, Oct. 16, 1805.
4 Wallula Gap. “...the Countrey rises here about 200 feet above The water and is
bordered with black rugid rocks...” “...saw a mountain bearing S.W. Conocal form Covered with Snow” (Mt. Hood). - William Clark, October 18, 1805.
5 6 7 Historic Sites of Celilo Falls, the Short Narrows and Long Narrows.
(all are now underwater). In the vicinity of today’s Columbia Hills State Park, the area between Celilo Falls and the Long Narrows was an ancient, vast trademart for tribes from all over the west. Lewis and Clark encountered the famed falls and rapids of the Columbia River here.
8 The Cascades of the Columbia. The Columbia River Gorge is known for its scenic vistas, unique geologic formations and for its many spectacular waterfalls. Clark noted the “Cascades” on the Columbia River while the expedition traveled this portion of the trail. He was most likely referring to the abundant waterfalls.
9 The Great Shute. Near present-day North Bonneville, the Corps of Discovery encountered this formidable set of rapids on their westward route, which provided excellent fishing for the area’s tribal villages. This marked the beginning of the calmer waters of the lower Columbia River (The Great Shute is now underwater).
10 Beacon Rock. “a remarkable high detached rock Stands in a bottom on the Stard Side near the lower point of this Island on the Stard. Side about 800 feet high and 400 paces around, we call the Beaten rock.” On the return trip Clark refers to it as “Beacon Rock.” This is one of a few features that still bear the name given it by the Corps of Discovery.
11 Provision Camp. The Corps spent considerable time at Provision Camp. Had they not chosen the Fort Clatsop site, this campsite could have easily accommodated their needs for the winter of 1805. The abundant game, the protective terrain and the proximity to water proved beneficial as they prepared for their return trip east while at this location near present-day Washougal.
12 The Dismal Nitch. Pinned down for several days (Nov. 10-14, 1805), trying to shelter themselves from the wind, waves and rain. Clark said of this camp: “this dismal nitch where we have been confined for 6 days passed, without the possibility of proceeding on, returning to a better Situation, or get out to hunt, Scerce of Provisions, and torrents of rain poreing on us all the time...” - November 15, 1805
13 Station Camp. The Corps established a terminus camp here on a “butifull Sand beech” east of the present-day town of Chinook, Washington. Here the first recorded vote by a woman and black man occurred in American history, when Sacagawea and York had a voice in where the Corps would winter.
14 Cape Disappointment. At Cape Disappointment Lewis and Clark achieved their principal goal of reaching the Pacific Ocean. Clark writes the men “appear much
Satisfied with their trip beholding with estonishment...this emence ocian.”
15 Furthest Extent of Travel In Washington State. On November 19, 1805, Clark, York and ten others proceeded north of the Cape approximately four miles before returning to Station Camp. Clark wrote: “I proceeded up the Course....& marked my name & the Day of the Month on a pine tree...”
Other Interesting Facts
- When game was plentiful, expedition members would consume between eight and ten pounds a day, approximately eating 12,000 to 15,000 calories a day.
- The corps came into contact with almost 50 different American native tribes.
- Lewis was shot by one of his own men. Pierre Cruzatte, who could not see well, shot Lewis through the buttocks on August 11, 1806, mistaking him for an elk.
- Did you know Clark was not actually a captain? When Lewis asked Clark to join the expedition he said President Jefferson was willing to promote him to captain. Before the expedition began, the Secretary of War notified Lewis that Clark would receive a lieutenant's title. Lewis was angered and wrote Clark that it was best that none of their party or any other persons would know anything about the grade which "By God, shall be equal to my own."
- Did you know Clark missed Mt. Adams? Though obviously seeing both St. Helens, which was sighted and named by Vancouver, and Adams, which is directly east from St. Helens, he didn't make the distinction that they were two separate peaks.
- Clark would establish a reference point—a landmark determined by latitude and longitude. From that point, he would take a reading with the sighting compass of some point up or down river, then using the float and cord of fixed length, he would determine the speed of the current, and therefore, the distance to the second point. He did this at every bend and turn of the river.
- Clark was the cartographer of the expedition and he did a masterful job of using crude and unreliable instruments such as the sextant, octant, artificial horizons, a chronometer, a sighting compass, and a log line. He was concerned primarily with the direction of travel from point to point, the number of miles covered between points, and the daily mileage accumulation. Though the tools were primitive given the satellite imagery and global positioning of today, Clark, in establishing latitudes and longitudes, was off by as little as 2.5 miles and as much as 62 miles. Yet the map published by Clark in 1814 stretching from St. Louis to the mouth of the Columbia River, was off by just 50 miles.