For the first time since the Eagle Creek Fire, six miles of the Historic Columbia River Highway and several popular trails near Multnomah Falls have reopened.
Reopened Gorge trails include the well-known Angels Rest, Wahkeena, and Larch Mountain Trail. Drivers can now enjoy views of Horsetail Falls and Wahkeena Falls on the newly opened segment of the historic highway between Bridal Veil to Ainsworth, the U.S. Forest Service announced in a weekend press release.
The full length of the Historic Columbia River Highway impacted by the Eagle Creek Fire is now open. However, many U.S. Forest Service and State Park trails and sites remain closed with no timeline for reopening. Visitors are advised to check weather conditions and the status of trails before heading out to hike.
“It’s thrilling to be able to reconnect visitors with these much loved waterfalls and trails, which were hard hit by the fire. Many dedicated people from throughout the region provided sweat equity or donations to our partners, who helped us bring about this day,” said Lynn Burditt, area manager for the U.S. Forest Service Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.
The Pacific Crest Trail Association and Trailkeepers of Oregon organized volunteer trail crews to repair and stabilize area trails, while Friends of the Columbia Gorge assisted with invasive species removal and visitor information. National Forest Foundation and Oregon Kitchen Table provided financial support for trail repair, based on donations from the public. Funds donated at Multnomah Falls Lodge were also used to help underwrite costs of trail work.
“People care deeply about the Columbia Gorge. We received donations from people in 28 states and with that support we improved over 60 miles of hiking trails this year,” said Patrick Shannon with the National Forest Foundation.
“Thanks to all who have recreated responsibly, and for your patience and grace over the past year. Much work has gone into healing the Gorge, with special thanks to all of our partners and volunteers. We look forward to folks reconnecting to their special places in the Columbia River Gorge, while asking visitors to continue to recreate safely and responsibly,” said Clay Courtright, park manager for Oregon State Parks’ West Gorge Management Unit.