Discover the history, geology, excellent food and wine, and the sheer beauty of the Pacific Northwest. We’ll travel through the region as early explorers, settlers, and natives did—by the waterways that stretch far inland from the Pacific Ocean. We’ll visit the Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum, enjoy a farm-to-table orchard lunch in the golden Hood River Valley, see important landmarks of the Lewis and Clark expedition, and board kayaks, Zodiacs, and local jet boats for unique perspectives on wonders such as the Palouse River and Hells Canyon. Throughout our journey, our superb expedition team will put everything in context and weave an ongoing narrative from each day’s events.
- Pricing from
- Trip Type
- Closer to Home, Individual Travel Tour
- Departure Dates
Sep 26, 2021 - Oct 3, 2021
Final payment is due 90 days prior to departure date.
Terms and Conditions
Arrive in Portland located on the Columbia and Willamette rivers, in the shadow of snow-capped Mt. Hood. The city is known for its eco-friendliness, microbreweries, and coffeehouses. This afternoon board our ship and discover why Portland is nicknamed “Bridgetown” as we sail under eight of the city’s 12 eclectic bridges along the Willamette River, the first of five rivers you will encounter on this voyage. (D)
We begin our journey by navigating the Columbia to the mouth of the river at Astoria. At Cape Disappointment where Meriwether Lewis saw the Pacific in November of 1805, explore the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center, see Cape Disappointment Lighthouse and the north jetty of the Columbia River Bar. Visit the Columbia River Maritime Museum, which chronicles the history of river navigation and all aspects of maritime commerce in the region. Hear harrowing stories of crossing “The Bar” at the mouth of the Columbia, one of the most dangerous passages in the world. In the afternoon explore the Astoria area with several options to choose from. (B,L,D)
Columbia River Gorge/Hood River
Spend your morning visiting the stunning Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center in Stevenson, Washington, featuring 15,000 years of cultural and natural history of the Columbia Gorge with displays both inside and outside. Or trek up the iconic Beacon Rock, the 848-foot basalt column that once formed the core of an ancient volcano. Lewis and Clark camped here on their way west, and it was at Beacon Rock that they first noticed the tides affecting the water levels in the Columbia River, more than 120 miles from its mouth.
Continue through the Gorge to Hood River, located in the shadows of majestic Mount Hood where you will enjoy a farm-to-table orchard lunch overlooking the golden Hood River Valley. The valley is known for its fruit growing orchards-including one of the world’s largest pear growing areas. After lunch you’ll have the option to visit the Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum and explore one of the largest collections of still-functioning antique cars and planes in the country or trek the trails of Tom McCall Nature Preserve which is home to over 200 plant species. (B,L,D)
Today we will spend the day cruising through some of the most scenic and geologically interesting stretches of the Columbia River and the Columbia Plateau. Our onboard geologist and naturalists will talk with you about the Columbian Basalt Flows and the Missoula Floods that sculpted the landscape 13,000 years ago. Relive the historic tales of the Corps of Discovery through the eyes of the historian as you sail by landmarks from their epic journey. Or unwind with a massage from the wellness specialist. (B,L,D)
Exploring the Palouse River
The still water of the Palouse River is the perfect mirror for the surrounding basalt cliffs as we set off cruising on our Zodiac and kayak adventures (conditions permitting). Visit Palouse Falls, where cascading waters plunge 198 feet into the pool below. In spring, the falls are at their peak, fueled by melting snows nearby. These falls and the canyon are an important feature of the channeled scablands created by the great Missoula Floods that swept periodically across the region. Afterwards, sail up the Snake River, enjoying a taste of local specialties. (B,L,D)
At Clarkston, we find ourselves at the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater rivers, more than 450 miles from the sea. The name Clarkston is in reference to William Clark and is located directly across the river from Lewiston, Idaho, which is named for Meriwether Lewis, though neither of them ever traveled to the Clarkston side of the river.
Travel by comfortable jet boat into one of North America’s most scenic spots, spectacular Hells Canyon. For a short period each spring, the canyon is full of vibrant greens and colorful flowers. The 125-mile long canyon was carved by the waters of the Snake River and at 7,993 feet is North America’s deepest river gorge—most of it inaccessible by road. The earliest known settlers in the canyon were the Nez Percé tribe and, as you travel up the river, look to the hillsides and see remnants of their ancestral horse trails along with pictographs and petroglyphs on the rock formations. In the afternoon, join your fellow travelers in the lounge for songs and stories by a local Nez Percé storyteller.
This evening, enjoy the company of a local winemaker onboard and sip their wines while you hear about how the geology of the area surrounding the Lewis-Clark Valley AVA, the newest Viticultural Area in the United States, affects the flavors of their wines. (B,L,D)
After breakfast this morning transfer to the airport for your connecting flights home. Choose to fly from nearby Lewiston, Idaho, or travel though the picturesque landscapes of the Palouse to Spokane, Washington, located two hours away. (B)
Everything you need to know about the tour
Save this information for later by downloading the full tour brochure.
Be prepared with the National Trust Travel Plan
Since 1973, USI Affinity Travel Insurance Services has served travelers just like you, to help protect their travel plans