A long, long time ago the Broughton Log Flume, four miles west of Bingen, Washington and not far from our Columbia Gorge Lodging, was a viable part of the Broughton logging business in the Columbia River Gorge – making it #62 on our list of activities in Columbia River Gorge. I cannot imagine how many gallons of water rushed down the nine mile flume carrying thousands of logs over one hour on their trek down the mountainside. In its heyday up to 150,000 logs were sent down the mountain a day on the way to the Broughton Mill. (Side note – more than logs went down the flume – Disney movie star Charlie the Lonesome Cougar rode the flume and and everyone’s favorite television dog, Lassie rode the flume!)
However, times changed and technological advances forced the 100 year old relic out of commission. You can still see bits and pieces of the flume, widely known as the last working flume in North America, from certain places on Interstate 84 as well as above Highway 14 between the first tunnel all the way west to Drano Lake.
Be a good sport and do not touch or climb on the remaining structure. And, don’t forget if you are out exploring the flume – you are a guest in nature so be prepared to contend with ticks, plenty of poison oak and rattlesnakes (eek!) in warm weather. Don’t miss the chance to take some photos and think about just how difficult it must have been to build such a structure. Then come back to our luxurious Columbia Gorge Lodging and sink into your tub for a long and lazy soak. After all that climbing and rooting around you have earned a lazy, relaxing evening.
To watch Charlie the Lonesome Cougar click here.
Watch Lassie ride the flume here.