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Phoca Rock

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

View to Phoca Rock, Cape Horn, and Biddle Butte from the Angels Rest Trail (bobcat)


Phoca Rock is a distinctive 30-foot-high pinnacle in the Broughton Reach of the Columbia River between Cape Horn on the Washington side and Bridal Veil and Dalton Point in Oregon. The rock was part of landslide caused by the Ice Age Missoula Floods that moved this large chunk of basalt into the current river channel. There is a shallow sand bar between Phoca Rock and Sand Island, in Rooster Rock State Park. The main shipping channel runs between the rock and the sheer basalt cliffs of Cape Horn.

The rock was named by Lewis and Clark after the Greek word for seal. Even today, harbor seals, California sea lions, and Steller sea lions swim this channel. The rock was also called Lone Rock and Sentinel Rock by early settlers.

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