Drive through the Columbia River Gorge and the steep cliffs and unique rock formations make it difficult not to be awed by the striking geology of the area. Rivers meandering through lush moss flow down from the precipitous rock to the Columbia River. The volcanic history of Mount Hood created the distinctive landscape surrounding Oregon's Mount Hood region.
The stunning scenery of the Columbia River Gorge is the result of a symphony of volcanic activity from millions of years ago and erosion. As tectonic activity caused the Cascade Mountains to rise, the Columbia River cared out the deep gorge, leaving the lowest passage (almost sea level) through the Cascades.
Above the gorge lies the Columbia River Plateau. Created by several basalt flows six to 17 million years ago, the plateau covers part of Northeast Oregon, Southwest Washington and Western Idaho.
A popular recreation destination in the Columbia River Gorge is Eagle Creek, whose trail follows a series of striking waterfalls. The taupe Eagle Creek Formation is a result of mudflows from volcanoes, which covered the area with deep layers of ash, boulders and large rounded rock fragments.
Buried deep in the Eagle Creek Formation are petrified trees and fossilized leaves. An attentive eye can find an ancient tree trunk poking from a rock outcropping.