Columbia and Snake Rivers
One of the best ways to explore the Pacific Northwest region of the United States is by cruising the Columbia and Snake rivers. Through a combination of a relaxing boat journey and exciting side excursions, travellers can discover dramatic landscapes, diverse wildlife habitats, and a number of cultural attractions.
The Columbia and Snake rivers travel through a varied landscape and flow past a number of striking natural features. A cruise along these waterways will take travellers through areas of outstanding beauty such as the peaks, glaciers, and volcanoes of the Cascade Mountain Range. Another area to visit when cruising the Columbia and Snake rivers is the Columbia River Gorge, a canyon that is rich with wildlife as well as natural features which include the tall basalt column known as Rooster Rock as well as one of the tallest waterfalls in the United States, Multnomah Falls. In addition to the abundance of outstanding natural features that can be found around the Columbia and Snake rivers there are also a number of impressive man-made features to discover along the way, including large dams and locks.
Shore excursions allow visitors to explore the surrounding landscape and attractions in more detail. More adventurous travellers will find that a cruise on the Columbia and Snake rivers will offer them the chance to explore the region by hiking, biking, or kayaking. For example, some of the tributaries of the Columbia and Snake rivers feature peaceful, narrow canyons that are best visited in a small vessel such as a kayak. Many cruises offer trips on smaller jet boats to explore some of the areas that are hard to travel to on a larger vessel including the rapids of Hell’s Canyon, an area that offers spectacular scenery in North America’s deepest gorge.
Animal lovers can enjoy the wide variety of wildlife that can be seen when cruising the Columbia and Snake rivers. More than 200 migratory bird species can be found in the McNary Dam region alone. Other birds that can be seen elsewhere on a Columbia and Snake River cruise include osprey, cliff swallows, hawks, and northern harriers. Larger animals such as bighorn sheep can also be spotted when cruising along these rivers, while attractions such as the Lewis and Clark Wildlife Refuge can also be visited on a day excursion. Wildlife that can be seen at the refuge includes a wide variety of fish, mammals, and birds including the American Bald Eagle.
A cruise along the Columbia and Snake rivers provides plenty of opportunity to explore local cultural attractions, including museums and galleries that educate visitors on Native American culture and display Native American artwork. Many cruises in this area provide talks by historians as well as experts who will guide travellers around local attractions that focus on Native American life and the Lewis and Clark Expedition, which first explored the region in the early 19th century.
Another way to explore the local culture when cruising the Columbia and Snake rivers is to sample the local food and drink while on excursions. Local beers can be sampled at a number of fine bars and restaurants in the area, and Washington State’s wine country offers a number of vineyards which can be explored on a day trip.
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