The mighty Columbia River, which eventually empties into the Pacific Ocean between Oregon and Washington, begins in the Columbia Valley on the west side of the British Columbia Rockies
. The headwaters of the Columbia are considered to be Columbia Lake
at the south end of the valley. The river then flows north through Windermere Lake
, past Golden
and eventually turns south just before the Mica Dam
, the first of the many dams that have tamed the river.