There are few places in the Pacific Northwest more cherished than the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, and when the Eagle Creek Fire broke out here in September 2017, first responders and nature-lovers sprang to action.
According to the U.S. Forest Service, the fire spread across 48,831 (19,761 hectares) of land before it was fully contained in November 2017. Because the burned area is at increased risk of landslides, downed vegetation and rockfall, most trails remain closed to protect public safety.
Hikers, don’t lose hope! Several recreation areas in the Columbia River Gorge have officially reopened to the public, including Rooster Rock State Park, Bridal Veil Falls and the Bridge of the Gods, among others. To check the status of which recreation sites are open or closed, visit the National Scenic Area’s website.
As of March 29, 2018:
- Multnomah Falls – lower viewing platform, lodge and visitor center. (Trails, Benson Bridge and the upper viewing platform remain closed.)
- Portland Women’s Forum State Scenic Viewpoint
- Crown Point State Scenic Corridor (Vista House)
- Historic Columbia River Highway – for 6 miles (9.7 km), from Larch Mountain Road to Bridal Veil only
- Mt. Hood Scenic Byway
- Rooster Rock State Park
- Guy W. Talbot State Park
- Bridal Veil Falls State Scenic Viewpoint
- Dabney State Park
- Lewis & Clark State Park
- All Hood River County parks
As of March 29, 2018:
- Multnomah Falls – trails, Benson Bridge and upper viewing platform
- Historic Columbia River Highway – from Bridal Veil to Hood River
- Most trails between Troutdale and Wyeth; see Friends of the Columbia Gorge’s trail alerts page for complete info.
Visiting the Gorge
Despite the damage caused by the Eagle Creek fire, the Columbia River Gorge is still a striking, must-see destination. To minimize your impact while maximizing your enjoyment of the gorge, we encourage you to take a guided tour or consider a car-free trip.
Ways to help
Officials are already working to rebuild and repair trails, bridges and signs, and have said little or no human intervention is needed to aid the forest’s natural regeneration process — but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to help.
Be There for the Gorge
A crowdfunding campaign hosted by Oregon’s Kitchen Table aims to restore public access to one of Oregon’s most iconic places: Multnomah Falls. The campaign’s goal is to raise $525,000 for reconstruction of nearly 10 miles of trail surrounding the trail to the 620-foot waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge, one of the state’s most beloved natural attractions, damaged in last fall’s devastating Gorge forest fire. Learn more and contribute.
Shop for the cause
The fire forced many businesses in the Columbia River Gorge to close for several weeks during what is typically their busiest time of the year. They have since reopened for business and could use support as they recover economically. See a list of businesses in Cascade Locks, and a guide to where to shop in Hood River.
For online shoppers, all of the proceeds of MapleXO’s $10 Support the Gorge pin will be donated to wildfire relief efforts. The Oregon state-shaped pins come in black and white or multicolored, and have a tree-shaped cutout in the center. Fun fact: The pins (and all MapleXO accessories) are made from recycled skateboards.
Donate to local nonprofits
When donating to the American Red Cross online, you can designate your donation to the “Local Red Cross.” You can also donate by phone using the dedicated line for Oregon wildfires: 503.528.5634.