Noted as a historic site on the Lewis and Clark Historic Trail, Rock Fort is a known campsite of Lewis and Clark in the early days of their voyage. On October 25, 1805, following the precarious descent of a series of rapids (The Dalles), Clark wrote, “we Came too, under a high point of rocks on the Lard. Side below a creek of 20 yards wide and much water, as it was necessary to make Some Selestial observations we formed our Camp on the top of a high point of rocks, which forms a kind of fortification in the Point between the river & Creek, with a boat guard, this Situation we Concieve well Calculated for defence, and Conveniant to hunt under the foots of the mountain to the West & S. W.”
They delayed there three nights, making observations, repairing canoes, hunting, and interacting with various tribes. The expedition returned to the campsite during the return journey on April 15, 1806. Clark wrote, “we arivied at the enterance of Quinnett Creek which we assended a Short distance and Encamped at the place we had Called rock fort Camp.” This time their primary focus was negotiating with tribes for the acquisition of horses and other goods. They broke camp on April 18 to portage the rapids upriver.
Located in The Dalles, the 5.5 acre property commemorating the Rock Fort Campsite was conveyed to Wasco County ownership from the Union Pacific Railroad in 1976. A short footpath accesses the site from an adjacent parking area. A series of wayside panels interpret the site.