Columbia & Snake Rivers
5 days with American Queen Steamboat Rating: Deluxe
River Cruise Itinerary
Day 1: Vancouver, WA
Departure 6:00 PM
Board the American Empress in beautiful Vancouver, WA and settle in for your magnificent Fall journey through the great Pacific Northwest.
Day 2: The Dalles, OR
At the end of the overland Oregon Trail, The Dalles holds a unique place in history as a jumping-off spot for pioneers, soldiers, gold miners, adventurers, gun-slingers, floozies, and scallywags. Lewis and Clark camped at this location at Rock Fort Camp during their historic journey in 1805 and 1806. Fort Dalles was established in 1850. Oregon Trail pioneers ended their overland journey at The Dalles, forced to build rafts and take the “river road” west to Fort Vancouver, then into the Willamette River valley. Ten thousand years of Native American trading took place on the banks of the Columbia River, shaped by the Ice Age Missoula floods. The town was located at the foot of a series of dangerous rapids which the Hudson’s Bay Company fur traders called “The Dalles of the Columbia.”
Included Shore Excursions:
Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum
Enjoy the beautiful, paved walking trails, a pond, and scenic overlooks. The Discovery Center is located in a beautiful and unique ecosystem native to the area. The multimedia, interactive museum inspires appreciation and stewardship of the natural and cultural treasures of the gorge and Wasco County. Exhibits focus on the volcanic upheaval and raging floods that shaped the gorge, the unique flora and fauna of the region, and 11,000 years of cultural history. In addition to touring the many fascinating exhibits, visitors can spend time viewing the museum’s incredible Raptor Program, with live birds of prey presented daily or take the pond walk and view the native plants.
Original Wasco County Courthouse Museum
In 1854, The Dalles was designated by the Territorial Legislature as the county seat of one of the largest counties ever formed in the United States. Wasco County extended from the crest of the Cascade Mountains to the Great Divide in the Rockies and encompassed 130,000 square miles. Construction began in 1858, under the supervision of Judge Orlando Humason, who was the first county judge and also the chairman of the Board of Commissioners. This small courthouse was used as a public meeting place, church services, as well as the seat of law for the county.
The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce
Discover the history of this historic and beautiful city. Use this opportunity to learn about the many attractions and buildings, and get a listing of the best places to grab a bite to eat, get a fine glass of wine, find a pharmacy, or do the most unique shopping. The friendly hosts will assist you in any way possible while informing you about their hometown.
Fort Dalles Museum
Located in the former fort’s Surgeon’s Quarters built in 1856, the Fort Dalles Museum opened in 1905, making it one of Oregon’s oldest history museums. Take a tour of the unique collection of pioneer and military artifacts at one of the old west’s most pivotal places in history. Enjoy walking on the grounds of this military fort and viewing the historic collection of wagons and antique vehicles. The collection holds over 30 wheeled vehicles, including a stage coach, road-building equipment, a covered wagon, two horse-drawn hearses, the Umatille House bus, and a surrey once owned by Oregon’s seventh governor, Zenas Ferry Moody. Explore the hand-hewn log buildings of the Anderson Homestead, including the pioneer house, granary, and barn.
Sunshine Mill Winery
The Sunshine Mill once milled wheat on this property for more than 130 years, and was the first building in The Dalles to have electricity, powered by a Thomas Edison Motor which can still be seen in the mill. It is also the only designated skyscraper in the Columbia River Gorge. The Sunshine Biscuit Company once owned this property and the wheat milled here was used to make everyone’s favorite cracker, the Cheez-It! Today, the abandoned wheat mill is now a state-of-the-art boutique winery and home of Copa Di Vino – a unique invention by entrepreneur and wine enthusiast, James Martin. Stroll across the grounds and discover the Sunshine Mill winery, where owners James and Molli invite you to enjoy tasting or have a glass of wine in the courtyard. (Opens at 11:00 AM)
The Dalles Commercial Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. Spend the day exploring this city’s extraordinary boutiques, exquisite cuisine, and beautiful historic structures. Walk the streets of this peaceful and quirky river-town and admire the intricate murals that line the walls and streets of The Dalles. A multitude of murals wrap around the city, depicting important moments in their history.
Day 3: Portland, OR
The “City of Roses” is an eclectic blend of art galleries, coffee shops, museums and farm-to-table restaurants with a spirited vibe. Marvel at the beauty of more than 8,000 roses at the International Rose Test Garden.
Included Shore Excursions:
Explore Portland, Oregon, sister city to Vancouver, Washington. Embark on a narrated journey through this iconic Pacific Northwest Town. Our adventure will wind us past iconic attractions such as the Haas Mural, a Tromp L’oiel-style painting, French for “deceive the eye,” which will do exactly that – trick you into believing it is three-dimensional! We will continue through Downtown Portland, where we will get a glimpse into the local art scene, which is visible throughout the colorful paintings and quirky store fronts. The International Rose Test Gardens, known for its meticulously pruned roses in more varieties than one can imagine, features over ten-thousand blooms, creating a colorful panoramic view of Portland. Before returning to the dock, our driving tour will be certain to pass attractions such as the China Town, Alphabet District, Pearl District, Broadway Street, and more!
Day 4: Astoria, OR
Astoria is known to be the oldest American Settlement west of the Rocky Mountains. For thousands of years, Clatsop Indians inhabited the lands that are now known as Astoria. In 1805, Lewis and Clark led their expedition through the town and spent the winter at Fort Clatsop. In 1813, a British warship sailed into the Columbia River, gaining possession of the city and holding control until 1818, when they finally agreed to a joint occupation of the land. The British did not fully leave Astoria until 1846. There is no doubting the rich history has deep roots grounded in this Columbia River town. When the history combines with the scenery, the harmony will surely bring you back for more!
Included Shore Excursions:
A six-mile paved walkway overlooking the beautiful Columbia River. In addition to the remarkable views, guests can explore the statues, shops, cafes, docks, and historic canneries dotting the path. Guests, who wish to, can choose to board the riverfront trolley that runs along the banks for an extra fee. The Astoria Riverwalk, also known as the Astoria River Trail, stretches the entire length of the city’s waterfront, connecting restaurants and breweries, museums, and dozens of other attractions. It passes under the Astoria-Megler Bridge, the largest continuous truss bridge in the United States, arcing out across the Columbia River toward the hazy hillsides of Washington state. The trail follows the route of the Astoria and Columbia River Railroad that was completed in 1898.
The Flavel House
As one of the best-preserved examples of Queen Anne architecture in the Northwest, the Flavel House survives today as a landmark of local and national significance. The house was built as a retirement home in 1885 for Columbia River bar pilot, Captain George Flavel, and his family. The Flavel House has been restored and furnished to portray the elegance of the Victorian period and the history of the Flavel family. Its decorative exterior, with hipped roof, balconies, and verandas, is distinguished by a fourth-story cupola. The interior of the home features original Eastlake influenced woodwork, period furnishings, six exotic hardwood fireplace mantels, and fourteen-foot ceilings with plaster crown molding and medallions.
This magnificent monument stands 600 feet above sea level and gives the perfect view to Young’s Bay, the Coast Range, the Columbia River, and in the distance, even the Pacific Ocean. Ralph Budd initiated the project to celebrate Astoria’s early settlers. He hired Italian immigrant and artist Atillilio Pusterla to model a piece inspired by Trajan’s Column in Rome, featuring hand-painted spiral frieze work, stretching over 500 feet if it were to be unwound. The Astor family, with the help of the Great Northern Railroad, generously donated the column to Astoria in July of 1926.
Astoria’s Old City Hall building, a neoclassical structure designed by prominent Portland architect Emil Schacht in 1904, is home to the Historical Society’s collection and archive. Clatsop County’s rich and exciting history is featured in the museum’s permanent and changing exhibit galleries. Objects on display include a 1,000-year-old hunting implement, finely crafted 19th-century Chinook and Clatsop Indian baskets, and a sea otter pelt and beaver hat which illuminate the early history of Astoria. Logging and fishing, the two economic mainstays since 1870, are represented in collections of tools, equipment, and photographs. The stories of the many diverse ethnic groups that settled in the area are depicted in the Emigrants Gallery. A recent addition to the Heritage Museum’s exhibits and located on the second floor, is “Vice and Virtue in Clatsop County: 1890 to Prohibition.” The gallery contains a partially reconstructed saloon and illustrates Astoria’s seedy past when the town was known along the West Coast for its infamous saloons and brothels.
Columbia River Maritime Museum
Here, guests can experience interactive displays, galleries and collections representing the history of the mighty Columbia River throughout time. The museum was founded in 1962 when Rolf Klep returned to his birthplace after retiring from his art career on the East Coast. Klep was a long-time collector of maritime artifacts and he began to recruit his colleagues and friends to help establish a museum to present these collections. The museum was the first in Oregon to meet national accreditation standards and is designated the official maritime museum of Oregon. After a $6 million expansion, the museum now holds six galleries, the Great Hall, and the Lightship Columbia. Enjoy over 30,000 artifacts and 20,000 photos as you travel through this expansive maritime museum! Trail Interactive exhibit! (Admission Additional)
Day 5: Vancouver, WA
Arrival 8:00 AM
Thank you for cruising with us! We hope that you had a memorable experience and look forward to welcoming you aboard in the future.
All This Included
WELCOME TO THE MAGNIFICENT PACIFIC NORTHWEST - This voyage through the Pacific Northwest shows you the bounty and beauty of nature, as well as the history and heritage of the people who inhabited this diverse region. And there's no better time than autumn to drift through this stunning array of sights, sounds and wildlife. The panoramic colors of fall and the crisp air will embrace you, stirring a deep appreciation for the peaceful, relaxing time before the holidays. At each port, you can embrace the culture and history of this region on an included shore excursion, such as a tour of the impressive Bonneville Dam, and the magnificent Astoria Column, with views for miles.
Complimentary Hop-On Hop-Off shore excursions in each port of call
All onboard meals, including both fine dining and casual cuisine
24-Hour Room Service
Complimentary wine and beer with dinner
Complimentary cappuccino, espresso, specialty coffees, tea, bottled water and soft drinks throughout your voyage
Gracious service from a friendly, all-American staff
Daily lectures by the Riverlorian, our onboard historian
Professional showboat-style entertainment and dancing nightly
Our own dedicated fleet of deluxe motorcoaches
Accommodations on this Tour
Cabin onboard American Empress
Pre and Post Add-ons
Cabin upgrades are available.
Itineraries are subject to change.
Single occupancy cabins are available.
Port Taxes of $129 per person are additional and not included in the prices shown above.
Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions
The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines. Sorry, we are unable to offer air from countries other than the U.S. However, for those international customers who are able to arrange their own transportation to the trip origination city, we are able to offer the land/cruise portion of the package at the price quoted.
Open Mon-Fri 7am to 10pm, Sat 8am-8pm, Sun 9am to 8pm, CST
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