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Up to 4,000 feet (1,300 m) deep, the Columbia gorge 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. The Columbia Gorge American Viticultural Area is located in both states.
The Columbia is the only river that cuts through the Cascade Range, and the gorge is the only connection between the Columbia River Plateau and the Pacific Ocean. Extending roughly from the confluence of the Columbia with the Deschutes River down to eastern reaches of the Portland metropolitan area, the gorge furnishes the only navigable route through the Cascades. In 1805, the route was used by the Lewis and Clark Expedition to reach the Pacific.
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