By Lori Spencer

The Columbia River is the fourth largest river in the United States, and the largest river in North America’s Pacific Northwest region. Traveling from the Rocky Mountains’ northern ranges in British Columbia, Canada, the 1,243 mile (2,000 km) long river flows down into Washington state and through Oregon before reaching the Pacific Ocean. The Columbia’s largest tributary is the Snake River, which runs through Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Because of the Columbia River’s heavy flow and steep gradient, it produces more hydroelectric power than any other river in North America. The river also provides breathtaking scenery, historic tourism and recreation options to the millions of visitors who travel to the Pacific Northwest annually.

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