Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Hood River, Oregon ... (the river)"
Includes ... Hood River ... "Labiche River" ... "Dog River" ... City of Hood River ... Wells Island ... Hood River Valley ... Hood River-White Salmon River Syncline ... Mount Hood ... Mount Adams from Hood River ... Sailboarding ... Kiteboarding ...
Image, 2003, Hood River, Oregon, looking towards Columbia River, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Hood River, Oregon. Mouth of Hood River, Oregon, looking towards its confluence with the Columbia River. Washington State is in the background. Image taken October 25, 2003.


Hood River ...
Hood River originates on the flanks of Mount Hood and flows north, merging with the Columbia River at River Mile (RM) 169.5, twenty-two miles upstream of the Bonneville Dam. Hood River, the City of Hood River, and Hood River County were all named after Mount Hood, which is visible from the Columbia River. Mount Hood was named after the British admiral Lord Samuel Hood in 1792 by Lieutenant Broughton of the Captain George Vancouver Expedition. Broughton sailed up the Columbia River, reaching Point Vancouver, a spot today today near Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge.

"... The same remarkable mountain that had been seen from Belle Vue point again presented itself, bearing at this station S.67E.; and though the party were now nearer to it by seven leagues, yet its lofty summit was scarcely more distinct across the intervening land, which was more than moderately elevated. Mr. Broughton honored it with Lord Hood's name; its appearance was magnificent; and it was clothed in snow from its summit, as low down as the high land, by which it was intercepted, rendered it visible. ..." [Vancouver/Broughton, October 30, 1792]

Upstream from Hood River is the small town of Mosier, Rowena Gap, and Mayer State Park. Twenty miles upstream is The Dalles, Oregon. Downstream from Hood River is the Columbia Gorge Hotel, Ruthton Point, and Mitchell Point. The White Salmon River and the community of Bingen are across the Columbia River on the Washington side.


Image, 2003, Hood River, Oregon, at mouth, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Mouth of the Hood River, Oregon. Mouth of Hood River, Oregon. Washington State is in the background. Image taken October 25, 2003.
Image, 2004, Mount Hood and the City of Hood River, click to enlarge
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Mount Hood and the City of Hood River. Mount Hood over the City of Hood River, as seen from the levee near the Hood River Bridge. Image taken March 20, 2004.


Hood River ... the city ...
The first permanent settlers in Hood River area filed a Donation Land Claim in 1854. By 1880 seventeen families lived in the region. The Hood River Post Office was established in September 1858. In 1881 the City of Hood River was platted, and in 1908 Hood River County was created. The City of Hood River has been the county seat since the county's creation.
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Image, 2006, Hood River, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Hood River, Oregon, from the Cook-Underwood Road, Washington. Image taken May 10, 2006.


Lewis and Clark and Hood River ...
Lewis and Clark passed the mouth of the Hood River on October 29, 1805, and named it "Labeasche River" or "Labiech's river", after one of their members, Private Francois Labiche.

"... the mouth of a Small river 40 yards wide on the Lard. Side ...     from the mouth of this little river which we shall Call Labeasche River, the falls mountain is South and the top is covered with Snow ..." [Clark, October 29, 1805]

The Corps again pass by Hood River on April 14, 1806, on their return up the Columbia.

"... the river from the rapids to the Commencement of the narrows is from 1/2 to 3/4 of a Mile in width, and possesses but little Current.     the bead is rock except at the enterence of Labiech's river which heads in Mt. Hood and like the quick Sand River brings down from thence Vast bodies of Sand ..." [Clark, April 14, 1806]

Early Hood River ...
Lewis and Clark passed the mouth of the Hood River on October 29, 1805, and named it "Labeasche River" or "Labiech's river", after one of their members, Private Francois Labiche.

An early name for Hood River was "Dog River". The U.S. Board of Geographic Names made "Hood River" official in 1980.


"Dog River" ...
An early name for Hood River was "Dog River", named after a party of early settlers camping on the river ate dog meat in preference to starving. William Henry Gray in his writings about the history of Oregon (published in 1870) used "Dog River" in a narrative dated 1836.

"... At the Dalles our party made another portage, paying our Indians as at Celilo Falls. ... We proceeded down the river for a few miles and met the Hudson's Bay Company's express canoe ... stopped and exchanged greetings for a few minutes and passed on to camp just above Dog River. Next morning made an early start to reach La Cascade to make the portage there before night. We had proceeded but about one hour, with a gentle breeze from the east, sails all set, and in fine spirits, admiring the sublimely grand scenery, when, looking down the river, the ladies inquired what made the water look so white. In a moment our boatmen took in sail, and laid to their oars with all their might to reach land and get to shelter, which we did, but not till we had received considerable wetting, and experienced the first shock of a severe wind-storm, such as can be gotten up on the shortest possible notice in the midst of the Cascade Mountains. Our camp was just below White Salmon River. ..." [Gray, 1870, writing about 1836]

The name of the river was changed to Hood River, after Mount Hood, the source of the drainage, through the efforts of Mrs. Nathaniel Coe, a well-known pioneer who lived in the valley. The name "Dog River" today is associated with a small stream that flows into the East Fork Hood River, southeast of Parkdale.


Hood River Sandbar ...
On Lewis and Clark's route map [Moulton, vol.1, map#78] there is a sandbar shown beginning at Hood River and stretching downstream, hugging the Oregon shore. Captain Clark wrote the sandbar was 4 miles long.

"... a large Sand bar from the Lard. Side for 4 miles ..." [Clark, October 29, 1805, first draft]

"... one mile below pass the mouth of a large rapid Stream on the Stard. Side, opposit to a large Sand bar ... about 4 miles lower and below the Sand bar is a butifull cascade falling over a rock of about 100 feet, ..." [Clark, October 29, 1805]

On the return trip in April, Clark notes that the Hood River brings down "sand" like the Sandy River downstream does.

"... the bead is rock except at the enterence of Labiech's river which heads in Mt. Hood and like the quick Sand River brings down from thence Vast bodies of Sand ..." [Clark, April 14, 1806]

Image, 2005, Hood River, Oregon, at mouth, click to enlarge
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Sand in the river, Hood River, Oregon. Image taken August 27, 2005.
Image, 2015, Hood River, Oregon, at mouth, click to enlarge
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Sandbars, mouth of the Hood River, Oregon. Image taken February 12, 2015.


Sailboarding and Kiteboarding ...

Image, 2005, Hood River, Oregon, at mouth, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Kiteboarding, sandbars at mouth of the Hood River, Oregon. Image taken August 27, 2005.
Image, 2005, Hood River, Oregon, at mouth, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Sailboarding and kiteboarding, sandbars at mouth of the Hood River, Oregon. Image taken August 27, 2005.
Image, 2005, Hood River, Oregon, at mouth, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Kiteboarding, sandbars at mouth of the Hood River, Oregon. Image taken August 27, 2005.


Hood River, etc.

  • Hood River Valley ...
  • Hood River Valley and the Missoula Floods ...
  • Hood River - White Salmon River Syncline ...


Hood River Valley ...
According to the Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Authority website (2004), the Hood River watershed covers 339 square miles, with three major folks combining to form the mainstem Hood River. The West Fork Hood River enters the mainstem Hood River at River Mile (RM) 12, and the Middle and East Fork Hood Rivers converge near RM 15, giving the Hood River watershed an estimated 695 miles of streams. The Hood River Valley landscape was shaped by glaciation and flooding, and is characterized by steep, narrow valleys and terraces of clay, silt, sand, gravel and boulders. The valley extends for 20 miles with an average width of 5 miles. The east wall of the valley is a fault escarpment with a vertical displacement of more than 2,000 feet. The Hood River Canyon is incised 200 to 300 feet below the valley surface. The upper part of the valley lies between the northeast shoulder of Mount Hood (11,240 feet) and Middle Mountain (2,642 feet), with streams not as deeply incised with a greater tendency for channel meander. Rock formations along the Hood River system are primarily basalts of the Columbia River Basalt Group, and abundant glacial till and outwash can be found in the valley and is exposed in roadcuts and along the Canyon walls.
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Hood River Valley and the Missoula Floods ...
During the Missoula Floods, 12 to 15 thousand years ago, the Hood River Valley was inundated by backwater from the floods. In 2004, Norman et.al., quoting from Newcomb (1969) and O'Connor and Waitt (1994), writes that Newcome found "fine-grained lacustrine deposits" as high as 800 feet, and O'Connor and Waitt reported that the highest ice-rafted erratics in the Hood River Valley were found between 840 and 880 feet. Peak high was estimated at approximately 925 feet.
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Hood River - White Salmon River Syncline ...
Almost directly across from the mouth of the Hood River is Washington State's White Salmon River. These rivers run down the axis of the Hood River-White Salmon River Syncline which trends northeast. The Bingen Anticline begins rising to the east.
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Image, 2006, Hood River, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Columbia River looking upstream towards Hood River, Oregon. View from the Cook-Underwood Road, Washington. Image taken May 10, 2006.
The Hood River - White Salmon River Syncline (valley) runs left-to-right through the middle of this image, with the Bingen Anticline (ridge) rising behind it. The Bingen Gap is where the Columbia River carved its channel through the Bingen Anticline. The Rowena basalts can be seen in the distance through the Bingen Gap. In this image the White Salmon River is at the middle left edge of the image.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, October 29, 1805, first draft ...


Clark, October 29, 1805 ...





Clark, April 14, 1806 ...




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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:    See Hood River, Oregon (the city), plus:
  • Allen, J.E., and Burns, M., 1986, Cataclysms on the Columbia, Timber Press, Portland;
  • Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Authority website, 2004;
  • Norman, D.K, Busacca, A.J., and Teissere, R., 2004, Geology of the Yakima Valley Wine Country -- A Geologic Field Trip Guide from Stevenson to Zillah, Washington, Washington Division of Geology and Earth Resources Field Trip Guide 1, June 2004;
  • Scott, W.E., Gardner, C.A., Sherrod, D.R., Tilling, R.I., Lanphere, M.A., and Conry, R.M., 1997, Geologic History of Mount Hood Volcano, Oregon - A Field-Trip Guidebook, USGS Open-File Report 97-263;


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.
/Regions/Places/hood_river.html
April 2016