Guided by two Nez Perce men, the Lewis and Clark Expedition entered present-day Washington on October 10, 1805. They beached their dugout canoes and camped at a site across the Snake River from here.
In this area, the explorers met, traded with, and recorded observations about the Nez Perce. These Indians, some of the most friendly and helpful on the entire journey, assisted by providing food, guides, and maps. Indian people had lived here for thousands of years and knew every practical river and overland route, as well as sources of food, water, and shelter.
From here, Lewis and Clark continued down the Snake and Columbia rivers, reaching their principal goal, the Pacific Ocean, at Cape Disappointment. They constructed Fort Clatsop, their winter quarters, among the Chinook and Clatsop Indians at the mouth of the Columbia River. In the spring, the Expedition passed by this place on its return to the United States.
"The... Indians are Stout likeley men, handsom women, and verry dressey in their way, the dress of the men are a white Buffalow robe or Elk Skin dressed with Beeds which are generally white, Sea Shells... [The women's shirts] are ornemented with quilled Brass, Small peces of Brass Cut into different forms, Beeds, Shells & curios bones &c."— William Clark's journal, October 10,