Legacy of Discovery

7-night inclusive river cruise with shore excursions, Lewis & Clark, history, and wine

From $3,395

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Discover the legacy of Lewis & Clark, the Nez Perce, and early pioneers as you journey along the Columbia & Snake Rivers. From the shores of the Pacific to the peaks of Hells Canyon, included premium excursions and presentations highlight the region's early American history.


  • Lewis & Clark’s journey
  • Premium shore excursions
  • Columbia River Gorge and Multnomah Falls
  • Transit eight locks and tour the Bonneville Dam Visitor Center
  • Jet boat ride into Hells Canyon
  • Visit Columbia River Maritime Museum and Astoria Column
  • Tours to Fort Clatsop, Maryhill Museum, Hanford Reach and Columbia Gorge Interpretive Centers
  • Private tour, tasting, and picnic lunch at Terra Blanca Winery & Estate Vineyard
  • Hear tales of the Nez Perce and early American pioneers
  • Narration by guest experts, guides, and historians
  • Convenience of sailing roundtrip Portland, Oregon

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Roundtrip Portland, Oregon



Portland, Oregon – Embarkation
Welcome to Portland! You’ll be greeted at the airport and transferred to our hospitality area before boarding the S.S. Legacy in Portland, Oregon. Enjoy champagne and hors d’oeuvres before dinner, then following dinner, gather in the Grand Salon for an evening presentation about your week's journey through time.


Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
Near the Columbia River Gorge entrance, you’ll slip through the locks of Bonneville Dam and embark on a private tour of the massive turbines and fish ladders at the dam’s Visitor Center. Since 1938, this historic landmark has supplied hydroelectric power and river navigation. Travel by motorcoach to the towering Multnomah Falls, the tallest falls in Oregon. Back on board, cruise upriver through the spectacular Columbia River Gorge. At 80 miles long and up to 4,000 feet deep, this river canyon cuts the only sea level route through the Cascade Mountains.


Snake River Cruising
After an early morning transit of McNary Dam, you’ll arrive at the confluence of the Columbia and Snake Rivers. Hillsides reveal the vineyards of some of the area's more than 200 wineries. Glimpse the surrounding wheat fields of the Palouse—one of the nation's top wheat growing regions—and pass by massive wind farm turbines atop riverside hills. Observe the intricacies of locking through as you transit the locks and dams of the lower Snake River. This evening, a member of the Nez Perce joins you on board with colorful stories.


Clarkston, Washington / Hells Canyon
After your final upriver locking at Lower Granite Dam, you’ll dock in Clarkston to delve into the history and culture of the Nez Perce people. Historical sites connected to the Lewis and Clark Expedition abound in this area, including Clark’s first encounter with the Nez Perce in 1805. Board a covered speed boat for an invigorating ride into Hells Canyon. This free-flowing river stretch of the Snake, hemmed in by vertical cliffs, cuts its way through North America’s deepest river gorge. Protected as a National Recreation Area since 1975, Hells Canyon preserves a world of fascinating natural and cultural elements. Keep your eyes peeled for bighorn sheep, golden eagles, and 7,000-year-old Indian petroglyphs.


At Hanford Reach Interpretive Center, discover the region’s fascinating geologic history—from basalt flows and Ice Age floods to today’s living landscape; learn about the monumental efforts of the Manhattan Project and Hanford Engineering Works that ushered in the atomic era; and meet Baby Ems, a cast of the world’s only complete baby woolly mammoth skeleton. This afternoon, pause to soak in the sweeping views of the Red Mountain AVA while touring and tasting at award-winning Terra Blanca Winery and Estate Vineyard. Then back on board, ease into the afternoon with a relaxing massage, a visit with your captain on the Bridge, or watching the scenery change as you cruise downriver


The Dalles, Oregon
It’s a day of culture at Maryhill Museum and the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center. With its eclectic collection of European paintings, Native artifacts, and the Queen of Romania’s personal effects, the museum—a castle-like chateau—sits on a bluff overlooking the Columbia River Gorge. The Discovery Center's interactive exhibits provide a look into the area’s geologic origins of volcanic upheavals and catastrophic floods; pioneer and missionary life; and the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Transit The Dalles—another of the eight dams harnessing these mighty rivers.


Situated near the mouth of the Columbia River, you’ll step back in time with a visit to Fort Clatsop and Astoria. Fort Clatsop National Monument is a replica of the encampment of the Lewis and Clark Expedition during the winter of 1805-1806. The fort was the Corps of Discovery’s last encampment before their return trip east to St. Louis. Visit the fascinating Columbia River Maritime Museum and take time to stroll through the quaint Victorian streets of Astoria. Enjoy a Farewell Dinner this evening, then relive the week through photos and storytelling hosted by your heritage guides.


Portland, Oregon – Disembark
Your crew serves another excellent breakfast this morning before bidding you “adieu.” Disembark for your included transfer to the Portland airport.

Passport required (non USA citizens). Itineraries are guidelines; variations in itinerary and the order of days may occur to maximize your experience.

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Fares are per person double occupancy, in USD. Single fares are "from prices" reflecting the lowest fare available in select cabins. Triple accommodations are available in the Admiral cabins 101 & 102; triple and quadruple accommodations available in the Owner's Suite. Inquire for pricing details. Charter up to 86 guests.

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See ALL 2018-19 Columbia & Snake Rivers Rates & Dates (.pdf)

Ports & Places

The places you visit play a starring role throughout every journey. While this list isn’t exhaustive of every nook-and-cranny you’ll explore along the way, we’ve included descriptions of key ports and places to help you get to know the wilderness areas, landmark locations, notable regions, and coastal towns relevant to this itinerary.

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Astoria, Oregon

Fort Astoria is located near the mouth of the Columbia River, and was founded by John Jacob Astor’s fur trading company in 1811. The first permanent U.S. settlement on the Pacific coast, today, Astoria has more registered historic buildings than any other city in Oregon.

Though the fur company failed three years after it began operations at Fort Astoria, in 1926, the Astor family, along with Ralph Budd, president of the Great Northern Railway and architect Electus Litchfield, built a monument to commemorate the early history of the region. Set atop Coxcomb Hill, the Astoria Column reaches 125 feet into the sky, providing breathtaking views of the Columbia, the town, and the surrounding landscape. Restored in 1995 by Frank Preusser, the column’s internal spiral staircase climbs 168 steps to the top. On the outside, 14 murals depict important events in Oregon’s history beginning with the discovery of the Columbia River.

Other notable historic landmarks include the Flavel House, once the home of Captain George Flavel and his family. Built in the 1880s, the historic mansion is one of the best preserved examples of Victorian-era architecture. Astoria’s waterfront district was the site of over 30 fish canneries during the height of commercial fishing in Astoria. Today, all that remains of this unique part of Astoria’s past are the pylons that supported these buildings. A trolley car offers narrated tours of this historic area.

Another important structure, still in use today is the Astoria-Megler Bridge. The 4.1-mile-long bridge spans one of the widest parts of the lower Columbia River and enables Highway 101 to cross from Washington to Oregon. Completed in 1966, the bridge replaced a ferry system that transported people from state-to-state. After completion, the bridge was humorously called “The Bridge to Nowhere” or “Hatfield’s Folly” because many skeptics thought it would be of little or no use since there is no major town situated on the Washington side of the span. It was a toll bridge until 1993, when the debt associated with the bridge’s construction was paid off 2 years ahead of schedule and the toll was abolished.

While the fur trade and canning may have gone to the wayside, many international ships pass by Astoria today. These vessels cross the treacherous Columbia River bar aided by a bar pilot and then continue upriver to the ports of Portland, Vancouver, Longview, or Kalama.

Clarkston, Washington

Nestled at the intersection of the Snake and Clearwater Rivers in Washington State, Clarkston is the gateway to Hells Canyon, the deepest gorge in North America. Before incorporation in 1902, the area was known as Jawbone Flats. In honor of the Corps of Discovery’s leaders William and Meriwether, Clarkston sits just across Lewiston, its sister city in Idaho. Clarkston benefits from a Mediterranean climate and while it has an active and important port, it is predominantly an agricultural region.

Columbia River

While the Columbia River and its tributaries had already been an epicenter of culture and trade for thousands of years, many European and American explorers sought the mouth of this great river of the West for years without success. James Cook, John Meares, and George Vancouver all searched for and missed it. In 1792, a U.S. fur trader and merchant sea captain, Robert Gray, became the first non-native man to sail a vessel into the river. He named it for his ship—the Columbia Rediviva. Ongoing exploration was accelerated as a result of Gray’s discovery, aided by the 1803 Louisiana Purchase.

Lewis & Clark, Wilson Price Hunt and the Astorians, the Hudson’s Bay Company, missionaries like the Whitmans and the Spaldings, Benjamin Bonneville, and Peter Skeen Odgen all helped discover and open up the Pacific Northwest by way of the mighty Columbia. What first started out as a small smattering of explorers and traders would eventually become a flood, as thousands of Oregon Trail settlers came west seeking a new start.

The fourth largest river in the U.S. by volume and the largest in the Pacific Northwest, the Columbia flows over 1,200 miles from its source in the Canadian Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. Today, the main river has 14 dams, 11 in the U.S. and three in Canada as well as a number of navigational locks as far up as Lewiston to aid barges and boats in transit.

Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

The dramatic walls of the Columbia River Gorge expose the tremendous geologic history of the region as they rise up to over 4,000 feet where they meet Larch Mountain. The region’s fiery origins, owing to the volcanic Cascade Mountains, left layer after layer of molten lava—also known as flood basalts—creating the land mass that is now Washington and Oregon. These layers can be seen along the steep walls of the gorge.

Later, floods of water further eroded and carved the land into its rugged, present-day beauty. At the end of the last Ice Age about 15,000 years ago, ice dams repeatedly broke allowing enormous floodwaters originating near Missoula, Montana, to scour a path down the Columbia River corridor. Rushing water reached as much as 1,000 feet high and traveled at speeds close to 100 miles per hour. Ripping and tearing at the sides of the river valley and removing huge quantities of rock, gravel, and debris, the floodwaters deposited this material in the Walla Walla and Willamette Valleys as they slowed in speed. This deposited material, called Loess, is the reason these two areas are so agriculturally rich.

People have called this region home for over 13,000 years, drawn to the fertile land and water that provided abundant resources; cedar and fir, salmon and steelhead, beaver, and big game. The only sea-level passage through the Cascade Mountains, the Columbia was the route for intrepid pioneers and explorers who ventured westward and, today, is vital for the transport of goods and generation of power.

Hells Canyon

Nez Perce legend says that Coyote dug out Hells Canyon with a stick to protect his people in Oregon’s Blue Mountains from the treacherous Seven Devils Mountains. The deepest river gorge in North America, Hells Canyon is perpetually being carved ever deeper by the Snake River. Full of history, geology, wildlife, and breathtaking scenery, this canyon stretch of the Snake is designated as a national recreation area and is one of the last remaining free-flowing sections of this “Wild and Scenic” river.

When measured from He Devil Mountain, the canyon plunges nearly 8,000 feet—2,000 feet more than the Grand Canyon at its deepest point. The west rim, which is in Oregon, drops one mile to the river, and the east rim in Idaho drops 7,400 feet below the Seven Devils Mountain range. The 10-mile canyon remains pristine and remote.

Massive mountain areas that were once part of the ocean floor were uplifted when oceanic and continental plates collided, creating jagged peaks abundant with limestone deposits. Then, ancient volcanic activity flooded layer after layer of basalt and about 6 million years ago, the Snake River began its work of carving the canyon into the plateau. As a result of the carving, unique columnar basalt formations stretch skyward forming the canyon as you see it today. Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, bald eagles, great blue herons, elk, and mule deer can all be found in Hells Canyon.

Pictographs and petroglyphs of the region’s Native inhabitants can still be seen on the canyon walls and archeological artifacts from encampments can be found. Once the beloved and traditional lands of the Nez Perce, in the late 1870s, the tribe was driven out by conflict. At the famous Nez Perce crossing, Chief Joseph and his people, including women and children, were forced to swim across the swollen Snake River as they fled in hopes of reaching freedom and safety in Canada. Still an important area for the tribe today, the Wallowa band of the Nez Perce gathers nearby every summer for a Friendship Feast and Powwow.

Maryhill Museum

In the middle of nowhere, deep in the Columbia Gorge, is Sam Hill Country. Sam, a lawyer living in Portland, fell in love with the Columbia Gorge, saying “we have found the Garden of Eden where the sun from the east meets the rain of the west.” Known as a millionaire, friend of royalty, apostle of peace, road builder, eccentric, and dreamer, in 1908 he purchased 7,000 acres and planned to establish a utopian agricultural community here. He built a castle-like mansion for his wife using no wood—only reinforced concrete. Unfortunately, Sam could not convince his wife to move to the middle of nowhere, and the building remained incomplete until after his death in 1940.

Today, this mansion is (according to Time Magazine) ‘The loneliest art museum in the world.’ Due to Sam Hill's friendship with European royalty, it contains Romanian and American art donated by his friend Queen Maria of Romania. Exquisite and unique with gorgeous views of Mount Hood and the Columbia River Gorge, it also houses over 80 original sculptures and drawings by Auguste Rodin, an inspiring collection of chess sets from all over the world, stage sets and mannequins from the 1946 Théâtre de la Mode, and one of the best collections of North American native artifacts seen outside the Smithsonian. Sam also financed the construction of a replica of Stonehenge on the grounds as a war memorial dedicated to the men of the area who died during WWI.

Multnomah Falls, Oregon

Just a short distance from Portland, Oregon’s Multnomah Falls drops 620 feet in three thunderous steps; one drop is 9 feet, one 542 feet and one 69 feet. Officially regarded as the tallest falls in Oregon, a number of sources also claim that Multnomah Falls is also the second highest year-round waterfall in the United States. Beginning in the Larch Mountains from a spring, Multnomah Creek travels toward the falls collecting snowmelt and rainwater along the way. During unusually cold weather the waterfalls have been known to freeze, turning the plummeting water into a majestic icicle, and creating a playground for daring ice climbers.


Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon straddles the Willamette River in northwestern Oregon, near the confluence of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. Once a campground and traditional hunting and fishing site of Native Chinook, Portland was first inhabited by settlers in 1829 and incorporated in 1851. It was an early terminus for Oregon Trail pioneers and the flow of gold rush immigrants. Today it has become an important west coast port and Oregon’s largest city with a population of approximately 584,000. Portland is the second largest exporter of grain in North America (Vancouver, B.C. is first), shipping one-third of all U.S. wheat. Other exports include lumber and aluminum, and Portland is one of the largest auto ports on the west coast due to being one and one-half days closer to Japan than San Francisco.

A city of many nicknames—today Portland is best known as the “City of Roses” (a nod to its popular Rose Festival held every June) and “City of Bridges” for its 14 unique auto bridges (some built by world-famous engineers and 8 listed on the National Historic Register.) Then there’s “Stumptown” (from the days when early builders left tree stumps in the middle of the city) and “Puddletown” (referring to an 1852 Oregonian editorial stating it was not appropriate for women to raise their skirts to avoid all the puddles and they should stay home when it rained!) Those days have certainly changed.

This clean and friendly riverside city is often awarded the “Greenest City in America” and ranks among the world’s top 10 greenest cities. Home to an array of artists and arts organizations, in 2006 it was named as the 10th best Big City Arts Destination in the U.S. There is much to enjoy with its wonderful blend of historic and eclectic sites. The Portland Saturday Market provides a bazaar-like environment reflecting the many cultures of the area and the Tom McCall Waterfront Park is popular for scenic riverside strolls or jogs. The city offers myriad attractions from visiting museums to perusing Powell’s Bookstore—at one city block long and three stories high, it’s the largest independent bookstore in the U.S. and requires a map to guide you through.

Richland, Washington

At the confluence of the Yakima and Columbia Rivers, Richland today has a population of nearly 50,000. Once an important site for the Wanapum, Yakakam and Walla Walla who harvested fish during salmon runs, the land was purchased by W.R. and Howard Amon in 1905 as a proposed town site.

During the war years in the 1940s, the town was purchased by the US Army as a bedroom community for workers on the Manhattan Project at the Hanford Nuclear Site. In just two years the population soared from 300 to 25,000. The last production reactor at the Hanford Nuclear Site was shut down at Hanford in the late 1980s and the city has transitioned to environmental cleanup and technology.

Snake River

For Lewis & Clark, the Snake River was an area of almost continual rapids and waterfalls. The largest tributary of the Columbia, the Snake begins its long course in Wyoming. During the time of exploration by non-Natives, the river was given many names. The river’s final, lasting name was given somewhat in error; the hand gestures made by the Shoshone when asked the river’s name actually described the action of fish swimming upstream, not the motion of slithering reptiles.

The Snake winds through ranch land, some of the largest family-owned apple orchards, and untouched open spaces including several areas that were set aside as wildlife refuges by the Corps of Engineers. Many small scenic parks dot the shoreline and certain stretches of the river offer excellent wildlife viewing, including sightings of the rare white pelican near Ice Harbor Dam, and osprey, golden eagles, and numerous species of hawk along the cliffs, bluffs, and shorelines. Though today, numerous dams and locks produce hydroelectric energy and ensure faster, safer travel for vessels of all types, the 10-mile section along Hells Canyon is designated a “Wild and Scenic” river.

The Dalles

The area now known as The Dalles was a prominent trading post for Native people for over 10,000 years and today is one of the most important archeological regions in the country. Known as the end of the Oregon Trail, pioneers loaded their wagons onto rafts or barges at The Dalles and floated down the Columbia River to the mouth of the Willamette River, then upriver to Oregon City. It was also the site of Fort Dalles, which was established in 1850 to protect immigrants after the Whitman Mission massacre. At that time, Fort Dalles was the only military post between the Pacific Ocean and Wyoming.

Today, The Dalles is home to around 15,000 residents and is a predominant Bing cherry growing region. Oregon’s oldest bookstore, Klindt’s, established in 1870, still operates in The Dalles with its original wood floors and oak and plate glass display cases. The Dalles has a reputation for being the best place to learn to windsurf and is an excellent fishing location for walleye and sturgeon. It is also the place of origin for a pedigree of cat known as LaPerm, developed in the 1980s from a unique colony of curly-coated farm cats.

Washington Wine Country

In 1825, the first wine grapes were planted in Washington State near Fort Vancouver. Since 1983, Washington has become the largest wine producing state in the U.S. second only to California. With over 550 wineries producing more than twenty varietals, it is no wonder the region has gained international attention.

This $2.4 billion enterprise is divided into two distinct regions; Eastern and Western. Washington Wine Country has nine officially recognized appellations, only one of which is located west of the Cascade Mountain Range, and it produces about one percent of the state’s wines. Washington Wines are sold in all 50 states as well as in 40 different countries.

In 2002, 2003 and 2005, Washington state wineries received a perfect 100-point score; an acclaim that only a few wines in the world have ever won.

Extend Your Experience



2017 RATES: From $205

Resplendently modern, the Hotel Rose is a perfect example of Portland’s chic, cheeky, and fun style. Across from Tom McCall Waterfront Park and Willamette riverfront, the Rose is centrally located for discovering the city’s charm and attractions.


Package includes:

Stopover package at Hotel Rose includes meet and greet service at the airport, transfer from the airport to hotel, city or river view accommodations, taxes, and service fees.

Vessels for this Itinerary