Link to USGS home page.
USGS HOME
Contact USGS

  • Assess
  • Prepare
  • Forecast
  • |
  • Activity
  • Products
  • Observatories
  • About

The Volcanoes of
Lewis and Clark
November 25, 1805
Looking for a Place to Winter - Station Camp to Pillar Rock
 
Home
The Volcanoes of Lewis and Clark

Map of the Journey
Volcanoes, Basalt Plateaus, Major Rivers, etc.

The Volcanoes
Mount Adams, Mount Hood, Mount Jefferson, Mount Rainier, and Mount St. Helens

CALENDAR of the Journey
October 1805 to June 1806

Along the Journey
Pacific Northwest Maps - Columbia River, Volcanoes, Flood Basalts, Missoula Floods, Geology, etc.

The Corps of Discovery
The Journey of Lewis and Clark

About the Reference Materials
The Journals, Biddle/Allen, DeVoto, Gass, Moulton, Topo Maps, and others

USGS Lewis and Clark Links
Links to USGS Websites highlighting the Lewis and Clark Journey

Resources
Publications Referenced and Websites Visited


PREVIOUS

November 19-24
At the Pacific, Station Camp, Fort Canby, Long Beach
November 25

Looking for a Place to Winter
Station Camp to Pillar Rock

Station Camp, Astoria-Megler Bridge, Grays Bay, Pillar Rock, and Mount St. Helens and Mount Adams
CONTINUE

November 26-December 6
Looking for a Place to Winter, Pillar Rock to Tongue Point
 

On October 7, 1805, Lewis and Clark and the "Corps of Discovery" began their journey down the Clearwater River and into the volcanics of the Pacific Northwest. The Corps travelled from the Clearwater to the Snake and down the "Great Columbia", finally reaching the Pacific Ocean on November 15, 1805. Along the journey they encountered the lava flows of the Columbia Plateau, river channels carved by the great "Missoula Floods", and the awesome beauty of five Cascade Range volcanoes.

Map, Lewis and Clark in the Pacific Northwest, click for brief
                         summary
[Click map for brief summary about the area]


 
At the Pacific - November 1805
Looking for a Place to Winter - Station Camp to Pillar Rock
 

Lewis and Clark's camp between November 15 through November 24, 1805 - "Station Camp" - was located near today's McGowan, Washington, today the site of Lewis & Clark Campsite State Park. On November 24, 1805m the men voted as to where to winter over. One vote for everyone. The winner was on the south side of the Columbia River, in an area yet unexplored. They prepared to leave in the morning.

Monday, November 25, 1805
the wind was too high to suffer us to cross the river, but as it blew generally from the east southeast, the coast on the north was in some degree sheltered by the highlands. We therefore set out, and keeping near the shore,

Lewis and Clark had to back-track all the way to Pillar Rock to find a spot to cross the Columbia. Today, travelers can use the Astoria-Megler Bridge.


Along the Journey - November 25, 1805
Point Ellice, Washington, and the Astoria-Megler Bridge, 2004

Astoria-Megler Bridge:
In 1805 Lewis and Clark camped for 5 nights near Megler, Washington, before proceeding on towards the coast. To get to the Oregon side, they had to backtrack to Pillar Rock to cross the Columbia River. For the next 161 years folks either took a ferry (in 1840 the first ferry service began) or drove upriver to the nearest bridge. In 1962 the "Astoria-Megler Bridge" was begun and four years later, in 1966, the bridge was completed, becoming the largest continuous three-span through-truss bridge in the world. More than 30,000 people watched the dedication of the Astoria-Megler Bridge. The Oregon Governor, Mark Hatfield and the Washington Governor, Dan Evans cut the ceremonial ribbon to mark the opening. The toll which was created to pay off the debt for the bridge. It was thought that the bridge would never pay itself off, and that the toll would have to be enforced indefinitely. But on December 24th, 1993 the bonds were paid off and full two years early. The toll was removed. The bridge crosses the Columbia River linking Astoria, Oregon to Point Ellice and Megler, Washington, making U.S. 101 as an unbroken link between the Canadian and the Mexican borders. This photograph, taken from the Astoria side, shows the Washington shore of the Columbia River. -- Oregon Department of Transportation Website, 2002, Clatsop County Historical Society, and Oregon State Archives Website, 2002


Map, 1887, Mouth of the Columbia River, click to enlarge Map, 1987, McGowan, Point Ellice, Astoria-Megler Bridge, Megler, click to enlarge NASA Image, 2001, Mouth of the Columbia River, click to enlarge Image, 1951, Astoria-Megler Ferry across the Columbia River, click to enlarge Image, after 1966, Astoria-Megler Bridge over the Columbia River, click to enlarge Image, 1986, Mouth of the Columbia River with Astoria and the Astoria-Megler Bridge, click to enlarge Image, 1997, Ellice Point and the Astoria-Megler Bridge, click to enlarge Image, 2004, Astoria-Megler Bridge
  1. 1887 Map (section of original), Mouth of the Columbia River. (Click to enlarge). Original Map: The Columbia River from Celilo to the mouth showing locations of the salmon fisheries, 1887. Scale ca. 1:375,000, Relief shown by hachures. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Engineer Office, G.P.O. 1888. University of Washington Archives #UW128. -- University of Washington Library Archives Website, 2002
  2. 1987 Map, McGowan, Point Ellice, Astoria-Megler Bridge, Megler (section of original). (Click to enlarge). Office of Coast Surveys, Historical Maps and Charts, Columbia River, Pacific Ocean to Harrington Point, 1987, Chart#18521, 1:40,000. -- NOAA Office of Coast Survey Website, 2004
  3. 2001, NASA Image, Mouth of the Columbia River, including the location of Fort Clatsop. (Click to enlarge). NASA Space Shuttle photograph of the mouth of the Columbia River, including the location of Fort Clatsop, Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge, Tenasillahe Island, Puget Island, and Crim's Island, and others, June 20, 2001. NASA Astronaut Photography of Earth #SS002-724-30. -- NASA Astronaut Photography of Earth Website, 2002
  4. 1951, Astoria-Megler Ferry across the Columbia River. (Click to enlarge). View is from Astoria looking towards Washington State. The ferry is the M.R. Chessman. Photographer: unknown. Photograph Date: 1951. Oregon State Archives, Oregon Department of Transportation #OHD4968. -- Oregon State Archives Website, 2003
  5. after 1966, Astoria-Megler Bridge across the Columbia River. (Click to enlarge). View is from Astoria looking towards Washington State. Bridge was begun in 1962 and completed in 1966. -- Oregon Department of Transportation Website, 2002
  6. 1986, Aerial view looking west towards the mouth of the Columbia River at Astoria and the Astoria-Megler Bridge. (Click to enlarge). Photographer: Bob Heims. Photograph Date: August 1, 1986. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Photo Archives #Col0356.jpg. -- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Photo Archives Website, 2003
  7. 1997, Aerial view, Point Ellice and the Astoria-Megler Bridge. (Click to enlarge). Washington State Department of Ecology Shorelines Aerial Photo #PAC0617, May 13, 1997. -- Washington State Department of Ecology Website, 2002
  8. 2004, Point Ellice, Washington, and the Astoria-Megler Bridge. (Click to enlarge). View of the bridge is from just upstream of Station Camp, along Washington State Highway 401. Copyright © 2004 Lyn Topinka, private archives, used with permission.


halted for dinner in the shallow bay [Grays Bay],


Along the Journey - November 25, 1805
Grays Bay, 2004

Grays Bay:
Grays Bay is located on the Washington side of the Columbia River, and extends from Grays Point to Harrington Point, north of the main shipping channel of the Columbia River. The northeastern section of the bay are extensive mud flats. This bay was given a descriptive name, "Shallow Bay," by Lewis and Clark as they coasted the shore on their way to the Pacific Ocean. The bay was named "Grays Bay" in 1792, when Captain Vancouver named the bay to honor Robert Gray, the American who first explored the mouth of the Columbia River. -- NOAA Office of Coast Survey Website, 2003, and Washington State Historical Society Website, 2002


Map, 1798, Mouth of the Columbia River, click to enlarge Map, 1814, Lewis and Clark on the Columbia, click to enlarge Map, 1887, Columbia River from mouth to Pillar Rock, click to enlarge Map, 1987, Grays Bay, Deep River, Miller Point, Grays River, click to enlarge NASA Image, 2001, Mouth of the Columbia River, click to enlarge Image, 2004, Grays Bay, Washington
  1. 1798 Map, Mouth of the Columbia River (section of original). (Click to enlarge). Inset map of original, showing the mouth of the Columbia River, including Cape Disappointment, Point Adams, Youngs River, Point George (today's Astoria), and Grays Bay. Original Map: George Vancouver's "A Chart Shewing Part of the Coast of N.W. America." In A Voyage of discovery to the North Pacific ocean, and Round the World. London, 1798. University of Virginia Special Collection "Lewis & Clark, The Maps of Exploration 1507-1814". -- University of Virginia Library Archives Website, 2004
  2. 1814 Map, Lewis and Clark's map of the Columbia River (section of original). (Click to enlarge.) Grays Bay is depicted but not named (large bay on north side of the river, just below word "Ch innook"). Map includes three of the five volcanoes Lewis and Clark saw and commented on. While the journals mention the expedition seeing Mount Adams, it does not appear on their map. Mount Jefferson is to the south (bottom) and off the map. From the "Nicholas Biddle/Paul Allen" 1814 publication. Original Map: "A Map of Lewis and Clark's Track, Across the Western Portion of North America, From the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean". From: History of the expedition under the command of Captains Lewis and Clark : to the sources of the Missouri, thence across the Rocky Mountains and down the river Columbia to the Pacific Ocean : performed during the years 1804-5-6 : by order of the government of the United States / prepared for the press by Paul Allen. Philadelphia : Bradford and Insskeep, 1814. Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University #upbover maps37. -- Brigham Young University, Harold B. Lee Library Website, 2004.
  3. 1887 Map, Columbia River from the Mouth to Pillar Rock (section of original). (Click to enlarge). Grays Bay (right of Grays Point) is depicted but not named. Original Map: The Columbia River from Celilo to the mouth showing locations of the salmon fisheries, 1887. Scale ca. 1:375,000, Relief shown by hachures. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Engineer Office, G.P.O. 1888. University of Washington Archives #UW128. -- University of Washington Library Archives Website, 2004
  4. 1987 Map, Grays Bay, Deep River, Miller Point, Grays River (section of original). (Click to enlarge). Office of Coast Surveys, Historical Maps and Charts, Columbia River, Pacific Ocean to Harrington Point, 1987, Chart#18521, 1:40,000. -- NOAA Office of Coast Survey Website, 2004
  5. 2001, NASA Image, Mouth of the Columbia River, including the location of Fort Clatsop. (Click to enlarge). NASA Space Shuttle photograph of the mouth of the Columbia River, including the location of Fort Clatsop, the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge, Tenasillahe Island, Puget Island, and Crim's Island, June 20, 2001. NASA Astronaut Photography of Earth #SS002-724-30. -- NASA Astronaut Photography of Earth Website, 2002
  6. 2004, Grays Bay, Washington, as seen from the east. (Click to enlarge). Copyright © 2003 Lyn Topinka, private archives, used with permission.


and after dark, reached a spot near a rock, at some distance in the river, and close to our former camp of the 7th inst. [Near Pillar Rock, Washington] ......


Along the Journey - November 25, 1805
Pillar Rock, ca.1910

Pillar Rock:
Pillar Rock is a 70-foot high basaltic column sitting in water approximately 50 feet deep near the northern shore of the Columbia River. Simply marked "Rock" on Clark's route map, the basalt rock rose 75 to 100 feet above water level, depending on the tide. The landmark was given its present place name by Wilkes in 1841. Currently there is a navigation beacon located on top of Pillar Rock. -- U.S. National Park Service, Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Website, 2002, Pacific County Friends of Lewis and Clark Website, 2002, and Washington State Historical Society Website, 2002


Map, 1887, Pillar Rock vicinity, click to enlarge Map, 1989, Pillar Rock and Jim Crow Point, click to enlarge NASA Image, 2001, Mouth of the Columbia River, click to enlarge Penny Postcard, ca.1910, Pillar Rock, click to enlarge Image, 1997, Pillar Rock, click to enlarge Image, 1997, Jim Crow Point, click to enlarge
  1. 1887 Map (section of original), Columbia River and the Pillar Rock vicinity. (Click to enlarge). Original Map: The Columbia River from Celilo to the mouth showing locations of the salmon fisheries, 1887. Scale ca. 1:375,000, Relief shown by hachures. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Engineer Office, G.P.O. 1888. University of Washington Archives #UW128. -- University of Washington Library Archives Website, 2002
  2. 1989 Map, Pillar Rock and Jim Crow Point (section of original). (Click to enlarge). Office of Coast Surveys, Historical Maps and Charts, Columbia River, Harrington Point to Crims Island, 1989, Chart#18523, 1:40,000. -- NOAA Office of Coast Survey Website, 2004
  3. 2001, NASA Image, Mouth of the Columbia River, including the location of Fort Clatsop. (Click to enlarge). NASA Space Shuttle photograph of the mouth of the Columbia River, including the location of Fort Clatsop, the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge, Tenasillahe Island, Puget Island, and Crim's Island, June 20, 2001. NASA Astronaut Photography of Earth #SS002-724-30. -- NASA Astronaut Photography of Earth Website, 2002
  4. ca.1910, Penny Postcard, Pillar Rock. (Click to enlarge). Caption reads "Pilot Rock", Lower Columbia River. "Pilot Rock" is also known as "Pillar Rock". Published by the Portland Post Card Co. Date: ca.1907-1915. -- L.Topinka private collection, 2003, used with permission
  5. 1997, Aerial view, Pillar Rock. (Click to enlarge). Washington State Department of Ecology Shorelines Aerial Photo #WAH0033, May 13, 1997. -- Washington State Department of Ecology Website, 2002
  6. 1997, Aerial view, Jim Crow Point. (Click to enlarge). Washington State Department of Ecology Shorelines Aerial Photo #WAH0038, May 13, 1997. -- Washington State Department of Ecology Website, 2002


"... The evening cloudy wind of to day Generally from the E S. E, Saw from near of last Campment Mount Ranier [Mount St. Helens] bearing [blank] ..." [Clark, November 25, 1805, first draft]
"... evening Cloudy the Winds of to day is generally E. S. E which was a verry favourable point for us as the highlands kept it from us Mt St. Hilians Can be Seen from the mouth of this river ..." [Clark, November 25, 1805]

While Lewis and Clark only mention Mount St. Helens, Mount Adams can both be seen from near the mouth of the Columbia River.


Along the Journey - November 25, 1805
Mount Adams (left) and Mount St. Helens from near mouth of the Columbia, 2004

Mount Adams and Mount St. Helens:
On November 25, 1805, Captain Clark wrote in his journal
"... Mt St. Hilians Can be Seen from the mouth of this river ..."
Astoria, Oregon, near the mouth of the Columbia River, is nearly 100 miles east of Mount St. Helens, Washington. In Lewis and Clark's time Mount St. Helens was 9,677 feet high. Since the eruption of May 18, 1980, the volcano is 8,364 feet high. Mount Adams, which Captain Clark did not mention, is east of Mount St. Helens, and, at 12,236 feet, can also be seen from near the mouth of the Columbia River.


Map, the Volcanoes of Lewis and Clark, click to enlarge Map, 1814, Lewis and Clark on the Columbia, click to enlarge Map, 1853, Washington and Oregon and the Columbia River, click to enlarge Map, 1855, Columbia River, Vancouver to the Pacific, click to enlarge Map, 1860, Columbia River, Washington, Oregon, click to enlarge Image, 1987, Mount Adams, Washington, from Troutlake, click to enlarge Image, ca.1853, Mount St. Helens and the mouth of the Columbia River, click to enlarge Image, 1889, Mount St. Helens and the mouth of the Columbia River, click to enlarge Image, 1978, Mount St. Helens, before the May 18, 1980 eruption, click to enlarge Image, 1982, Mount St. Helens from Spirit Lake, click to enlarge Image, 2004, Mount Adams and Mount St. Helens from Point Ellice
  1. Map, "Lewis and Clark Volcano Sitings"
  2. 1814 Map, Lewis and Clark's map of the Columbia River (section of original). (Click to enlarge.) Map includes three of the five volcanoes Lewis and Clark saw and commented on. While the journals mention the expedition seeing Mount Adams, it does not appear on their map. Mount Jefferson is to the south (bottom) and off the map. From the "Nicholas Biddle/Paul Allen" 1814 publication. Original Map: "A Map of Lewis and Clark's Track, Across the Western Portion of North America, From the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean". From: History of the expedition under the command of Captains Lewis and Clark : to the sources of the Missouri, thence across the Rocky Mountains and down the river Columbia to the Pacific Ocean : performed during the years 1804-5-6 : by order of the government of the United States / prepared for the press by Paul Allen. Philadelphia : Bradford and Insskeep, 1814. Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University #upbover maps37. -- Brigham Young University, Harold B. Lee Library Website, 2004.
  3. 1853 Map, Washington and Oregon and the Columbia River, from the Clearwater River to the Snake River and down the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean (section of original). (Click to enlarge). Includes: Clearwater River (Kooskooski), Lapwai Creek (Lapwai R.), Snake River (Saptin or Lewis R.), Columbia River (Columbia R.), Yakima River (Yakima R.), Walla Walla River (Wallawalla R.), Umatilla River (Umatilla R.), Willow Creek (Quesnells R.), John Day River (John day's R.), Deschutes River (Fall R.), Willamette River (Willammette R.), and Cowlitz River (Cowlitz R.). Original Map: "Map of California, Oregon, Washington, Utah, and New Mexico (1853)", by Thomas Cowperthwait & Co. Washington State University Archives #WSU22. -- Washington State University Library Collections Website, 2003
  4. 1855 Map, Columbia River from Vancouver to the Pacific, including Mount St. Helens (section of original). (Click to enlarge). Original Map: "Map of Oregon and Washington Territories: showing the proposed Northern Railroad route to the Pacific Ocean, by John Disturnell, 1855. University of Washington Archives #UW155. -- University of Washington Library Collections Website, 2002
  5. 1860 Map, Columbia River, Washington State, and Oregon (section of original). (Click to enlarge). Original Map: Map of Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia, (1860). This map dates between March 2nd, 1861 (when the Dakota Territory was formed) and March 4th, 1863 (when the Idaho Territory was formed from eastern Washington and western Dakota) Nearing retirement from a thirty year long and rather successful career, S. Augustus Mitchell printed this map showcasing Oregon, the Territory of Washington, and British Columbia. Washington became a territory in 1853, arguing that distances to Willamette Valley kept them from obtaining a voice in the Oregon territorial government. As this map shows, when it split from Oregon proper the Washington territory included parts of Wyoming and Montana and all of Idaho. Territorial government for Idaho would not be approved until 1863. When Mitchell retired he left the business for his son to manage. Washington State University Archives #WSU7. -- Washington State University Archives, 2004
  6. 1987, USGS Photo showing Mount Adams, Washington, from Trout Lake (Click to enlarge). Photographer: Lyn Topinka, Date: November 1987. -- USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory Photo Archives, 2004
  7. ca.1853, Engraving. Mouth of the Columbia River (section of original). (Click to enlarge). Engraving depicts the Mouth of the Columbia River, Point Ellice, Mount St. Helens, and Tongue Point. Original also depicts Cape Disappointment and Point Adams. From: NOAA Photo Archives, America's Coastline Collection #line2075. -- NOAA Photo Archvies Website, 2002
  8. 1889, Engraving/Sketch. Mouth of the Columbia River (section of original). (Click to enlarge). Engraving depicts the Mouth of the Columbia River, Point Ellice, Mount St. Helens, and Tongue Point. Original also depicts Scarborough Hill. From: NOAA Library, Pacific Coast Coast Pilot of California, Oregon, and Washington, 1889 -- NOAA Photo Archives Website, 2004
  9. 1978, View of Mount St. Helens, before the eruption of May 18, 1980. (Click to enlarge). U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Photograph #Sce0234. Photograph Date: 1978. Photographer: unknown. From: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Photo Archives. -- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Website, 2002
  10. 1982, USGS Photo showing Mount St. Helens after the May 18, 1980 eruption. The volcano is reflected in Spirit Lake. (Click to enlarge). Photographer: Lyn Topinka, Date: May 19, 1982. -- USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory Photo Archives, 2004
  11. 2004, Mount Adams (left) and Mount St. Helens, Washington, as seen from Point Ellice, Washington, 14 miles upstream from the mouth of the Columbia River. (Click to enlarge). Copyright © 2004 Lyn Topinka, private archives, used with permission.



Along the Journey - November 25, 1805
The Camp - November 25, 1805:
Camped near Pillar Rock, Washington, near their camp of November 7, west of Jim Crow Point.



 
Home Previous Continue


If you have questions or comments please contact: GS-CVO-WEB@usgs.gov
June/July 2004, Lyn Topinka
The Volcanoes of Lewis and Clark Home Page | CVO Home Page