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 48,861 acres (19,773 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, some trails remain closed to protect public safety.
Hikers, don’t lose hope! Many recreation areas in the Columbia River Gorge have 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 Oct, 2019:
- Multnomah Falls
- Historic Columbia River Highway
- Angels Rest
- Benson State Recreation Area
- Bridal Veil Falls State Scenic Viewpoint
- Crown Point State Scenic Corridor (Vista House)
- Dabney State Park
- Dalton Point
- Horsetail Falls
- Larch Mountain trails
- Lewis & Clark State Park
- Portland Women’s Forum State Scenic Viewpoint
- Rooster Rock State Park
- Starvation Creek State Park
- Wahkeena Falls
- All Hood River County parks
As of Oct, 2019:
- Wahclella Falls Loop: the lower section of the trail is open, a 2.4 mile out-and-back hike. The upper section of the loop remains closed. For your safety, respect closure signs and stay out of closed areas.
- Several trails between Troutdale and Wyeth; see Friends of the Columbia Gorge’s trail alerts page for complete info and visit the U.S. Forest Service website to check the status of which recreation sites are open or closed.
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.
Savor the views and flavor of Hood River and the scenic gorge with this 48-hour itinerary.
The Columbia River Gorge is a recreational biker’s paradise, with options including car-free blacktop, smooth single-track flows and canyon trails with tricky switchbacks.
Grab your board and head to the Columbia River Gorge, the windsurfing capital of the world, located a short drive east of Portland.
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 there are still plenty of ways to help.
Eagle Creek Fire Restoration Fund
The National Forest Foundation, a non-profit partner to the U.S. Forest Service, has created the Eagle Creek Fire Restoration Fund to help pay for repairing damages caused by the wildfire. All donations are tax-deductible and go toward restoring the Gorge, including reopening hiking trails, restoring wildlife habitats and planting trees.
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 guide to where to shop in Hood River.
Donate to Local Nonprofits
When donating to the American Red Cross online, you can designate your donation to the “Local Red Cross.” Additionally, the Friends of the Columbia Gorge offers an FAQ with ways to help, including joining the nonprofit organization, which is dedicated to preserving the Columbia River Gorge.