Crater Lake / Photo by Peter Marbach

Sculpted by Water, Fire & Ice: Landscapes of Destruction and Renewal

Dramatic volcanic eruptions, massive Ice Age floods, and powerful glaciers all helped fashion a dramatic landscape of destruction and renewal, reaffirming for any visitor the power of fire and water and geologic time.

“The mountains are young, still forming, as evidenced by the rumblings of St. Helens. Only one river has ever smashed through the spine of Cascades—the mighty Columbia, draining an area nearly the size of France, emptying more water into the Pacific than any in the Western Hemisphere.”

—Tim Egan, author

Examples of Sculpted by Water, Fire and Ice

  1. Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve

    Mounds upon mounds, most six-to-eight-feet tall, spread uniformly across hundreds of prairie acres, creating an otherworldly effect whose origins are yet understood. Follow the interpretive trail and ponder the mysterious landscape for yourself.  Birders will find plenty of opportunities for wildlife viewing at this preserve. The…

    Location: Waddell Creek Road, Littlerock, WA 98556
  2. Breitenbush Hot Springs

    The Breitenbush community carefully stewards the land that encompasses the geothermal location.  They utilize the geothermal energy, construct buildings that are fitting and unobtrusive, and maintain a system of trails.  There are many facets to the educational experience at Breitenbush.  Many workshops and classes are…

    Location: Breitenbush, OR
  3. Table Rocks

    The Table Rocks are two of the most prominent topographic features in the Rogue River Valley. These flat-topped mesas rise 800 feet above the north bank of the Rogue River between Sam’s Valley and Central Point. Though many people assume Upper Table Rock is taller…

  4. Ape Cave — Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

    Over 2,000 years ago, lava poured down the southern flank of Mt. St. Helens.  As the hot lava flowed, the surface cooled, creating a crust, which insulated the lava beneath, allowing it to travel down the Lewis River Valley. The lava in the tube rose…

    Location: Forest Road 8303, 3 miles north Forest Roads 83/90 junction., Cougar, WA 98616
  5. Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

    On May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens erupted with such force that it triggered the largest landslide in recorded history and destroyed surrounding forests and streams for hundreds of miles. Witness the enduring aftermath and subsequent regrowth for yourself—on the trails, at visitor centers, on…

National Geographic