Latourell Falls, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

Latourell Falls is a waterfall along the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon, within Guy W. Talbot State Park.The Historic Columbia River Highway passes nearby, and at certain locations the Lower falls are visible from the road. Near the base of the falls, a parking lot and path were erected to assist visitors to the site. Visitors must hike along the 2.1-mile (3.4 km) loop trail to see the upper falls.Latourell is unique among the best-known Columbia Gorge waterfalls, in the way that it drops straight down from an overhanging basalt cliff. Most of those falls (even the famous Multnomah Falls) tumble to some degree.Latourell Falls is an excellent example of columnar basalt formations.

The Columbia River Gorge is a canyon of the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. Up to 4,000 feet (1,200 m) deep, the canyon stretches for over 80 miles (130 km) as the river winds westward through the Cascade Range forming the boundary between the State of Washington to the north and Oregon to the south. Extending roughly from the confluence of the Columbia with the Deschutes River down to eastern reaches of the Portland metropolitan area, the water gap furnishes the only navigable route through the Cascades and the only water connection between the Columbia River Plateau and the Pacific Ocean.The gorge holds federally protected status as a National Scenic Area called the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area and is managed by the Columbia River Gorge Commission and the US Forest Service. The gorge is a popular recreational destination.

Oregon is a state in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. It is bordered on its west by the Pacific Ocean, on its north by Washington, on its south by California, on its east by Idaho, and on its southeast by Nevada. The Columbia River delineates much of Oregon’s northern boundary, and the Snake River delineates much of the eastern boundary. It is one of only three states of the contiguous United States to have a coastline on the Pacific Ocean.

Oregon was inhabited by many indigenous tribes before traders, explorers, and settlers arrived. An autonomous government was formed in the Oregon Country in 1843, the Oregon Territory was created in 1848, and Oregon became the 33rd state on February 14, 1859. Today, Oregon is the 9th largest and 27th most populous U.S. state. Its capital is Salem, the second most populous of its cities, with 160,614 residents (2013 estimate). With 609,456 residents (2013 estimate), Portland is the largest city in Oregon and ranks 29th in the U.S. Its metro population of 2,314,554 (2013 estimate) is 24th. The Willamette Valley in western Oregon is the state’s most densely populated area, home to eight of the ten most populous cities.

Oregon’s landscape is diverse, with a windswept Pacific coastline, volcano-studded Cascade Range, abundant waterfalls, dense evergreen forests, mixed forests, and deciduous forests at lower elevations, and high desert sprawling across much of its east all the way to the Great Basin. The tall Douglas firs and redwoods along its rainy west coast contrast with the lighter timbered and fire-prone pine and juniper forests covering portions to the east. Abundant alders in the west fix nitrogen for the conifers; aspen groves are common in the east. Stretching east from central Oregon are semi-arid shrublands, prairies, deserts, steppes, and meadows. At 11,249 feet (3,429 m), Mount Hood is the state high point, and Crater Lake National Park is its only national park.

Latourell Falls, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

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