Rocky Mountain Trench

British Columbia. Trench
Columbia River and Fraser River and Peace River drainages
W side of Rocky Mountains, from Montana to the Liard Plateau
54.5 N 122.5 W — Map 093J07 — GoogleGeoHack
Name officially adopted in 1950
Official in BCCanada

The Rocky Mountain Trench is a large valley on the western side of the northern part of the Rocky Mountains. The Trench is both visually and cartographically a striking physiographic feature extending approximately 1,600 km from Flathead Lake, Montana, to the Liard River, just south of the British Columbia–Yukon border near Watson Lake, Yukon. The trench bottom is 3–16 km wide and is 600–900 m above sea level. The general orientation of the Trench is an almost straight 150/330° geographic north vector and has become convenient as a visual guide for aviators heading north or south.

Although some of its topography has been carved into U-shaped glacial valleys, it is primarily a byproduct of geologic faulting. The Trench separates the Rocky Mountains on its east from the Columbia Mountains and the Cassiar Mountains on its west. It also skirts part of the McGregor Plateau area of the Nechako Plateau sub-area of the Interior Plateau of British Columbia.

The Trench is drained by four major river basins: the Columbia, Fraser, Peace and Liard. Two reservoirs of the Columbia River Treaty fill much of its length today – Lake Koocanusa and Kinbasket Lake. Rivers that follow the Trench, at least in part, are the Kootenay River, the Columbia River, the Canoe River, the Flathead River, the Fraser River, the Parsnip River, the Finlay River, the Fox River, and the Kechika River. The Fox, Parsnip and Finlay Rivers are part of the Peace River system. The Canoe River is a short tributary of the Columbia system, draining into Kinbasket Lake, a reservoir on the Columbia River.


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