Waterfalls and Wildflowers Lower Gorge tour
$95, full day
approximately 6-8 miles
Paddle along the basalt cliffs of the Lower Gorge near Cathlamet, where waterfalls cascade ninety feet into the Columbia. From April through June a multitude of native wildflowers paint the cliffs in blue, yellow, white, red and purple: cliff larkspur, spring-gold, white shooting star, Oregon stonecrop and coast penstemon are a few of the prominent ones. Even the rare endemic gorge daisy, which lives only behind waterfalls in the Columbia Gorge, can be found here.
Geology enthusiasts can enjoy the details of these 16.5 million year-old lava flows, including pillow basalts, columnar basalts, and the mold of a tree with the bark pattern still perfectly preserved in the rock. Some of the beaches where we may stop offer pebbles of many different types of rock carried down from as far away as Montana during the ice age Missoula floods.
Weather permitting, we may cross Cathlamet channel on the return trip to make a loop through the homes and farms of Birnie Slough before crossing back to Cathlamet. The Lower Gorge in spring is one of the most scenic and fascinating paddles in the region.
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