Eastern Washington

Eastern Washington is twice the size and has a third of the population of the Western part of the state and the Washington Coast. Instead of mountain ranges and rainforests, like the Olympic Peninsula, Eastern Washington has rivers, dams and wineries. The Cascade Mountain range is east of the Puget Sound, and runs almost down the center of the State, so some consider the mountains part of Eastern Washington.

The Columbia River is famous for being the setting of the final leg of the Lewis and Clark expedition. It begins in BC, high in the Canadian Rockies, and flows through Washington, and, in its last few hundred miles, forms the border of Washington with Oregon. Astoria, Oregon and Ilwaco, Washington is where the Columbia River flows into the Pacific Ocean.

The Columbia River Gorge is an area that is well known for its scenic beauty. The Columbia River makes many twists and turns before it gets to the Gorge area. For the first 200 miles, it flows north, after which it turns south near the border of the US, where it junctions with the Clark Fork River. Then the river flows southwest, channeling through the Columbia Plateau. When it meets the Columbia Basin is where the river goes into the Columbia River Gorge. There is a 40,000-seat amphitheatre here with views of the Gorge.

Near the gorge, the Columbia River juts into the Cascade Mountains. Hood River County, Oregon is the area that windsurfing was born, thanks to the high winds that constantly blow through the Columbia River Gorge.

Another part of the river is the Grand Coulee Dam, which is just as well known as the Hoover Dam in Nevada. The Grand Coulee Dam is an engineering feat of epic proportions, especially when you consider that all of the Great Pyramids could fit just in the base of the dam, which is double the height of Niagara Falls. It is hard to imagine the scale and scope of the Grand Coulee Dam unless you have seen it for yourself.

Another major area in Eastern Washington is the Lake Chelan Valley, which is set in the North Cascades National Forest. This deep blue glacial lake is one and a half miles at its widest point, and over 1500 feet deep. This is a remote and beautiful area, which is great for Washington vacations by the lake. Cascade Mountains covered in deep, richly hued evergreens and snowy white peaks frame the landscape, rising 7,000 feet from the valley floor. The upper part of Lake Chelan has small isolated communities that do not even have regular roads that connect with the greater area. The North Cascades Scenic Highway takes you through some of the most scenic areas of the State.

At Lake Chelan, you can enjoy the most peaceful alpine trip during the warm summer months. Whether you enjoy boating, fishing, or just camping around the lake, you will enjoy the rugged beauty of Lake Chelan. This lake is deep in the Cascade Mountains, so you will love the dramatic scenery of the area.

To the south, Washington wineries in the Columbia Valley are known for their excellent quality. Whether you"re here for lakeside camping, a tour of the Columbia River Gorge or an afternoon at a winery, Eastern Washington has no lack of sights and things to explore.

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