After Eagle Creek Fire, Columbia River Gorge Trails Could Be Closed For Years

Multomah Falls Lodge sign
Multomah Falls Lodge reopened in late 2017 after being closed several months. Area trails are still closed.

The U.S. Forest Service gave an update on the conditions of Columbia River Gorge trails Friday, indicating that some of the most damaged trails “may take several years to reopen.”

Forest Service employees and volunteers have been working since the fall to assess damage from the Eagle Creek Fire to more than 20 miles of trails.

“Crews found a range of conditions from low burn severity to treacherous sections where washouts, landslides, and heavily burned conditions make trails hard to follow,” a press release from the agency stated.

Broadly speaking, workers found that trails near the edges of the fire — such as those east of Cascade Locks — suffered the least damage.

“Those that fared best include parts of Gorge 400 Trail, Gorton Creek Trail, Herman Creek Trail, Ridge Cutoff 437 and the Pacific Crest Trail,” the Forest Service stated.

Other trails had significant damage from the fire and have been covered with rocks and debris as winter rains wash out the burn scar area.

Larch Mountain trail is about 90 percent “covered with rocks along its route to the Upper Viewing Platform, and is in poor shape through its full loop with Wahkeena Trail.”

The popular Horsetail-Oneonta loop is also in “treacherous shape,” according to officials.

While most repair work on gorge trails usually happens in the spring because winter rain constantly creates damage, trained cleanup crews will be on trails all winter trying to get popular areas in shape for the tourist season.

The Forest Service said trails west of Multnomah Falls will be a priority to fix because of their popularity.

See the full list of trail conditions and recent photos of damage.

Copyright 2018 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Related Stories:

An unknown male wolverine was spotted at a wildlife monitoring station. Courtesy of the Cascades Carnivore Project

Where Have All The Wolverines Gone? Apparently Not On The Endangered Species List (Yet)

Conservation groups say the animals need to be listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Ten groups want to force the federal government to protect the elusive wolverines. The groups estimate there are around 300 wolverines left, sparsely scattered across the Mountain West, including Idaho, Washington and Oregon. Continue Reading Where Have All The Wolverines Gone? Apparently Not On The Endangered Species List (Yet)

Read More »
Gun-rights supporters rally on the steps of the Washington state Capitol on Friday. Among the speakers was Republican state Rep. Matt Shea who participated in an act of domestic terrorism, according to a recent House investigation.

Washington Rep. Matt Shea At Gun-Rights Rally: ‘They’re Trying To Label Us All Domestic Terrorists’

Washington state Rep. Matt Shea, a Spokane Valley Republican, has been accused of participating in an act of domestic terrorism prompting top elected officials to call on him to resign. But Friday, Shea found strong support at a gun rights rally at the state Capitol. Continue Reading Washington Rep. Matt Shea At Gun-Rights Rally: ‘They’re Trying To Label Us All Domestic Terrorists’

Read More »