Columbia & Snake Rivers Experience Guide
Our well-appointed replica coastal steamer harkens back to an elegant time of travel at the turn of the century.
Heritage guides and guest hosts share stories of the people who came before—Native people, Lewis & Clark, early explorers and hearty pioneers—and of the landscape and land itself providing in-depth interpretation of the places and sights you’ll visit along the journey. Along the wide and winding Columbia & Snake Rivers, the landscape changes dramatically from ocean coastline to rugged hills. Each microclimate sustains a unique collection of wildlife, vegetation, and wine varietals that thrive in the specific conditions of that area.
Each season offers a different perspective and something new to see from brilliant, blooming spring to the harvest of fall crush—it’s always a good time to be on the rivers.
History, Natural History & Nature
Stretching west to east between the 45th and 47th parallels, the rivers’ proximity to the coast, mountains, and desert uplands dramatically alters the landscape and climate. Where the Columbia meets the Pacific Ocean, rocky land is dotted with towering firs, windswept pines, and sea grasses. On geometric plateaus east of the Cascade Range, prairie grasses, sagebrush, willow, and boxelder eek out an existence in the drier climate.
In spring, riverbanks are dotted with color from tall grasses and blooming wildflowers. Under a big, blue sky, the languid summer offers upwards of 15 glorious hours of daylight. And fall presents changing foliage and golden fields. The seasonal variations listed here will help you anticipate what you’re likely to see.
Why cruise with us vs. another riverboat company?
“Roll on, Columbia, Roll on,” sang Woody Guthrie in honor of the beauty and power of the river that he witnessed. You’ll be singing the river’s praises too!
On board and in the field, knowledgeable heritage guides and local historians offer up presentations on Lewis & Clark and the area's vast history. Included premium shore excursions enhance your voyage. Hand-crafted culinary treats are served at every meal; and fine wines, microbrews, and cocktails are available around the clock. Feel at home aboard the S.S. Legacy with its relaxed, ambiance and immediate camaraderie between guests and crew. Here's a side-by-side comparison our river cruises with other operators on these rivers.
Columbia & Snake Rivers Travel FAQs
ARRIVAL / DEPARTURE
Q. Do you have specific arrival and departure guidelines I should follow when making my travel plans?
Q. I have an interest in engineering. Will we be visiting inside any of the hydroelectric dams along the river?
Our Legacy of Discovery itinerary stops at Bonneville Dam for a guided tour of the Visitor's Center as well as the hydroelectric plant. Both of our river itineraries transit several sets of locks and dams and the construction and operation of the lock systems along the Columbia, several of the largest in the world, will be of interest to everyone but in particular to those who enjoy and study engineering.
LEWIS & CLARK
Q. Will we learn about the Lewis & Clark Expedition?
Yes, these cruises cover some of the same territory Lewis & Clark traversed and your heritage guides and/or guest experts will address the subject during your adventure. The Legacy of Discovery itinerary covers the Lewis & Clark expedition in greatest detail.
Q. Many places on these itineraries are accessible by car. Why cruise?
The experience of actually traveling on the Columbia River is unparalleled. First, one better understands the power and influence that this huge river basin has had throughout history—and today. Secondly, the hassle-free travel experience, good company, Heritage guides, and well-planned excursions all come together to make this easy, fun, and intellectually rewarding. It would be almost impossible to get all this from either independent or group land travel.
Q. Which winery or wineries and tasting rooms will we visit?
As an added benefit, our small group size allows us to work closely with exclusive boutique wineries to make each visit very special. Details on who we visit will vary from week-to-week, and sometimes a local wine maker may step on board to say hello. Our Ameritage! Four Rivers of Wine & History itinerary visits the most wineries and tasting rooms.
|Itinerary Name||Legacy of Discovery||Rivers of Wine|
|Duration||7 Nights||7 Nights|
|Begin/End Points||Roundtrip Portland, Oregon||Roundtrip Portland, Oregon|
Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area and Multnomah Falls
Learn about Merriwether Lewis and William Clark's Corps of Discovery expedition
Transit eight locks and tour the Bonneville Dam Visitor Center
Jet boat ride into Hells Canyon
Visit Astoria Column and Columbia River Maritime Museum
Tours to Fort Clatsop, Maryhill Museum, Hanford Reach, and Columbia Gorge Interpretive Centers
Private tour, tasting, and picnic lunch at Terra Blanca Winery & Estates Vineyard
Hear tales of the Nez Perce and early American pioneers
Wine and culinary experience
Sommelier and guest wine expert join you on board for the week
Winery tours and tastings in five Washington and Oregon AVAs
Hosted lunch at Terra Blanca Winery & Estate Vineyard
Maryhill Winery vineyard and cave tour
Explore Palouse Falls canyon
Discover Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area