Bridge of the Gods

The original Bridge of the Gods was a natural land bridge that spanned the Columbia River.

Long before today's steel bridge spanned the Columbia River between Washington and Oregon, a natural land bridge crossed the river.  Even if there are no photographs, stories by early river people told of the existence of a bridge that connected present-day Oregon and Washington.

 

Today, scientists know that this original Bridge of the Gods was created by the Bonneville Slide, a major landslide that triggered large amounts of rock and sediment to slide from nearby mountainsides.  The debris actually created a dam that was over 5.5 miles in area and over 200 feet high.

 

Eventually, the powerful river breached the dam and the debris washed away.  Even if you can't see the evidence of the land bridge, there are still clues to the powerful landslide in the mountains around Cascade Locks. 

Table Mountain (3,417 feet) and Greenleaf Peak (3,422 feet), both in Skamania County, WA, have sharp cliff faces, as if the mountain was sheered away.



This mural of the original Bridge of the Gods was created by Larry Kangas of Beaverton, OR. It is painted on the base of the current bridge in Cascade Locks, OR