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The Columbia River Gorge, an 80-mile geologic wonder that forms the border between northern Oregon and southern Washington, is proof of Nature's unbridled strength. Glacial floods thousands of years ago carved this 1,200-mile-long river, which is the only sea-level passage to cross the Cascade Mountains. With cliffs rising as high as 4,000 feet, the Gorge acts as a funnel for North America's fourth largest river, whose tributaries include the mighty Snake River.
For more than 10,000 years, the Gorge has been a resource for sustenance and survival for human generations. It has also been a source of phenomenal beauty and enjoyment, providing a playground for just about every kind of recreation. The river's canyon-like walls create ideal wind conditions for windsurfing and sailing and the majestic beauty of the area lends itself to numerous return trips. The 620-foot cascading Multnomah Falls, off of I-84, is just one of about a dozen waterfalls that are accessible from the Columbia River Highway (I-84). Other activities include river cruises, nature hikes, and kayaking.
Camping offers an ideal setting in which to appreciate the splendor of the Columbia River Gorge, but there are also numerous inns, heritage buildings and hotels that offer accommodations. Shopping is available in several of the small towns along the river, such as Hood River, White Salmon and The Dalles. Attractions include a number of museums, galleries and live performance theaters, as well as wineries, seasonal music festivals and performances.
Getting to the Gorge is easy: The Columbia River Highway/I-84 intersects with I-5 in Portland and follows the river's edge to Umatilla, at the east end of the Gorge. Highway 14, on the Washington side offers a scenic view but less access to appealing roadside attractions.
Best selection of books on the Northwest.
Columbia River Gorge: The Story Behind the Scenery by Roberta Hilbruner, Mary L. Van Camp and K.C. DenDooven. The towering cliffs, cascading waterfalls, abundant wildflowers and panoramic vistas of the magnificent Columbia River Gorge brings millions of visitors annually who echo the sentiments missionary Jason Lee recorded in his 1834 journal: "The scenery up the Columbia below the Cascades is the most delightful I ever beheld." Order now...
The Guardians of the Columbia by John H. Williams. The Shelf2Life Mountaineering Collection provides a unique glimpse into the history and evolution of mountaineering through the late 19th and early 20th centuries. From historical maps, first-hand accounts of early summits, descriptions of peaks and wilderness areas to detailed mountaineering proofs. Order now...
Columbia River With Lewis And Clark by Cheryll Halsey. The chapters in this book are organized to represent different segments of the route followed by the Corps of Discovery across Idaho, Washington and Oregon. A trail guide points out actual sites of camps and significant events and landmarks experienced during the expedition. Also included is regional places of interest and sightseeing opportunities listed, along with maps. Order now...
Best of Oregon & Washington's Mansions Museums & More: A Behind-the-Scenes Guide to the Pacific Northwest's Historical and Cultural Treasures by Ken McKowen and Dahlynn McKowen. Each section covers a separate geographic region. Every entry details the highlights of a particular place and includes operating hours, entrance fees, location, and contact details. Order now...
Lonely Planet Washington, Oregon & the Pacific Northwest by Sandra Bao. Comprehensive coverage of outdoor activities and extended itineraries chapter for those travelling around the area. Order now...
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