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Oregon Geography

Rugged cliffs (some over 1,000 ft. high) front Oregon's Pacific Ocean coastline, where the land then rises into the Coastal Mountain Range and the Klamath Mountains of the south; both a series of relatively low, heavily-forested peaks, punctuated by numerous small lakes.

Directly to the east of those mountains, the Willamette Lowlands stretch south from the Portland area about 175 miles. This fertile strip of land is dissected by the Willamette River which rises in the Cascades, to then flow north into the Columbia River.

East of the lowlands stand the majestic Cascades. This range of (volcanic in origin) peaks includes Mt. Hood, Oregon's highest point, as well as many other major mountains including Mt. Jefferson, Mt. McLoughlin and the Three Sisters. These forested mountains contain many lakes, including Crater Lake (America's deepest lake) at 1,932 feet deep.

The Columbia Plateau extends south from Washington to cover much of eastern Oregon. Formed by ancient lava flows, it's a landscape of deep, wide valleys and rugged mountains, including the Blue and Wallowa. Hell's Canyon, dissected by the Snake River on Oregon's border with Idaho, is the deepest gorge in America, with a maximum depth of 7,900 ft.

The Harney Basin, a part of the larger Great Basin region of the western United States, is an arid and flat stretch of land that has no natural outlet to the sea. Harney Lake, Malheur Lake and the Steens Mountains are its major features.

Oregon's most significant rivers are the Columbia and Snake. The Columbia rises in British Columbia, Canada, then flows south through Washington to Oregon, forming most of the natural northern border between the two states. The Snake rises in the Grand Tetons of Wyoming and flows all the way to the Columbia River in Washington State.

Other rivers of note include the Deschutes, John Day, Owyhee, Rogue and Willamette.

For a detailed look at the topography of Oregon, view this topography map.

See Also

Oregon Photographs

Multnomah Falls, Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area, Oregon, USA

Multnomah Falls in Columbia Gorge...
by Charles Gurche
Buy This at Allposters.com

Oregon Cities, Counties & Area Codes

City County Area Code
Baker City Baker 541
Corvallis Benton 541
Portland Clackamas 503
Astoria Clatsop 503
Saint Helens Columbia 503
Coos Bay Coos 541
Prineville Crook 541
Brookings Curry 541
Bend Deschutes 541
Roseburg Douglas 541
Condon Gilliam 541
John Day Grant 541
Burns Harney 541
Hood River Hood River 541
Medford Jackson 541
Madras Jefferson 541
Grants Pass Josephine 541
Klamath Falls Klamath 541
Lakeview Lake 541
Eugene Lane 541
Newport Lincoln 541
Albany Linn 541
Ontario Malheur 541
Salem Marion 503
Boardman Morrow 541
Portland Multnomah 503
Salem Polk 503
Wasco Sherman 541
Tillamook Tillamook 503
Hermiston Umatilla 541
La Grande Union 541
Enterprise Wallowa 541
The Dalles Wasco 541
Beaverton Washington 503
Portland Washington 503
Fossil Wheeler 541
McMinnville Yamhill 503

About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

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This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.