Columbia River Gorge
The Columbia River Gorge is the expansive canyon which is home to the Columbia River. The gorge and the Columbia River itself make up much of the boundary between Washington State and Oregon State in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. The Columbia River Gorge begins at the union of the Deschutes River and the Columbia River, and extends all the way down to the city of Portland near the coast. The gorge also marks a portion of the Lewis and Clark Trail, as the two explorers followed the path of the river on their travels.
Today, the Columbia River Gorge is an appealing place for visitors of every kind to explore. The gorge is protected as a National Scenic Area, and as such remains in tact for various sports and leisure activities. Though travel to the gorge can be fun throughout the year, the highest number of visitors flocks to the river in the summer. Columbia River Gorge Windsurfing, in particular, is a popular activity. Due high winds in the area and the narrow path of the gorge, the canyon is an ideal place for windsurfing. Columbia River Gorge Windsurfing is considered to be the best windsurfing in the country according to many of the sport's aficionados. Two of the best places for launching your windsurfing board or sailboat include Viento State Park and Rooster Rock State Park. These parks are easily found off of the main arterial I-84.
In addition to Columbia River Gorge windsurfing, a number of other sports and outdoor activities can be enjoyed here. At certain times during the year, fishing is permissible, and fishermen from around the state come to different spots along the gorge for a day of fishing. The best places for fishing are some of the tributaries of the Columbia, including the Willamette River and particularly the Deschutes River. Whether making a stay at a Columbia River Gorge hotel or simply packing up the car to come for a day trip, the river is one of the best places for fishing on both the Oregon and Washington sides.
Another notable aspect of the Columbia River Gorge is the high concentration of waterfalls it contains. More than 75 waterfalls are found in Oregon, with even more found on the Washington side of the gorge. Multnomah Falls is likely the biggest and best known of these waterfalls, falling from a height of 620 feet. Waterfalls and the gorge itself are thought to have been created during an Ice Age flood from about 15,000 years ago. The wide swath cut into the land is recorded as being due to massive floods pushing through the area.
There are also some excellent routes along the gorge for scenic drives. The Historic Columbia River Highway is likely the most popular. The highway moves along the gorge and is also parallel to I-84. To take a day trip along the highway, many travelers start in the city of Troutdale east of Portland, and drive south toward the Troutdale Bridge and onto the Historic River Highway.
Although there are no longer massive floods, there is still an enormous amount of water and debris moving through the gorge each year. Only the Mississippi River carries a higher volume of water than the Columbia in the United States. Whether you hope to come to the gorge to view these massive water movements or engage is some sporting events, finding a Columbia River Gorge hotel is generally convenient from any city. Vancouver, Washington, as well as Portland Oregon are both popular spots, as are areas near Mt. Hood. Since water levels are lower in the winter than in the spring or summer, finding a Columbia River Gorge hotel in the winter will be easier and cheaper, though there will not be as much activity. Park hours for state parks generally follow the daylight and are closed at night for public use.
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