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In Brief

Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge

02 July 2012

Cascading waterfalls (AP Images)

Once a dangerous part of the Oregon Trail, the Columbia River Gorge now represents the largest national scenic area in the United States.

When emigrants embarked on the 3,200-kilometer wagon route known as the Oregon Trail, the Columbia River Gorge signified the final leg of their journey. It was also one of the most dangerous elements of the trek, with many lives lost on the wild rapids of the Columbia River.

Today, the Columbia River Gorge enjoys the distinction of being the largest national scenic area in the United States. Each year, thousands of visitors flock to the area to experience the 1,200-meter-deep gorge, 130-kilometer-wide canyon and 2,000-kilometer-long river nestled in the Cascade Mountains.

While the gorge has historically served as a transportation corridor, its recreational offerings make it an attractive destination for the outdoor enthusiast. Activities at the Columbia River Gorge range from whitewater rafting and kayaking to windsurfing and kiteboarding. Bird watching and photography are other options for those tourists feeling less adventurous.

Find out more about Oregon at DiscoverAmerica.com.