The Dalles Dam Oregon Fishing, Camping, Boating

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The Dalles Dam

The Dalles Dam, spanning the Columbia River Gorge to connect Wasco County, Oregon with Klickitat County, Washington, is a concrete-gravity engineering wonder with a generating capacity of 1.8 million kilowatts—enough to power Seattle.

  • Located 2 miles east of The Dalles, Oregon on Interstate 84.
  • The dam supplies hydroelectric power, aids navigation, and facilitates fish migration.
  • Visitor Center is open May-September, with dam tours available on a limited basis.
  • Recreational activities are available around Lake Celilo, the dam’s reservoir.

Overview

The huge L-shaped concrete structure known as The Dalles Dam sits two miles from The Dalles, Oregon near the east end of the Columbia River Gorge. This run-of-the-river dam was completed in 1957, and the dam today supplies hydroelectric power to the northwest, assists river navigation, and aids salmon and steelhead runs up the Columbia. A navigation lock, spillway, powerhouse, and fish ladder comprise the 1.5-mile dam complex.

Construction of The Dalles Dam created Lake Celilo, the 24-mile-long recreational reservoir behind the dam. Swimming, boating, camping, picnicking, and hiking trails all are available around Lake Celilo. The Dalles Dam Visitor Center, housed on the former site of Seufert’s Fish Cannery, offers information and exhibits about local history and the dam project. Viewing windows allow visitors to watch the fish migration during spawning seasons.

Location/Directions

The Dalles Lock and Dam, Lake Celilo
The Dalles, OR 97058
(541) 296-1181

The Dalles Dam Visitor Center
(541) 506-7819

The dam is located 2 miles east of The Dalles, Oregon on Interstate 84 (about 75 miles east of Portland).

Hours/Seasons

The Visitor Center is open May 1 – September 30 from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. Tours of the dam and powerhouse are available on a limited basis between April and September; call (541) 506-7819 to schedule and confirm availability.

More Info

Erection of The Dalles Dam served to submerge Celilo Falls, once a fertile fishing site for the local Native American tribes. Their habitations in Celilo Village also were flooded and destroyed. While the tribes did receive compensation for losing their homes, no compensation was offered for the loss of their livelihood—fishing the Columbia.

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