The beautiful riverside town of Cascade Locks is an amazing place to visit for exploring, hiking, water sports and much more. Learning about this towns fascinating history will bring so much more appreciation to your time spent here. Read about Cascade Locks historic beginnings below.

This hamlet of 1,120 people initially was a Native American fishing village. In 1843, Captain John Freemont named the 2-mile-long rapids, formed from giant boulders of the natural basalt bridge that collapsed eons before, “the Great Cascades.” This spot was the penultimate crux for Oregon Trail travelers who navigated the rapids by lashing wagons to rafts. In 1862, the state’s first steam engine, dubbed the “Oregon Pony,” pulled boats through these rapids. In 1896, with the coming of giant sternwheelers, the Army Corp of Engineers carved a channel 460 feet through the volcanic basalt and installed the locks. When Bonneville Dam fired up in 1938, the channel was flooded and decommissioned, but remnants of the locks and the Oregon Pony remain visible at the Cascade Locks Marine Park.

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