historic columbia river highway

‘Reconnecting the Gorge’ films debut amid enthusiasm for Historic Hwy completion

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015
Reconnecting The Gorge Series 1/6 – From Historic Road to Trail, by Path Less Pedaled


Fatal collision spurs new calls to complete the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014
Ellen Dittebrandt.

The death this past Sunday of Ellen Dittebrandt, killed while bicycling on Interstate 84 west of Hood River, has stunned her large community of friends in the Gorge, many of whom are now focused on completing the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail in her memory.

Dittebrandt’s death also comes on the heels of a scary month in Oregon. Just last week we reported that there were four major rear-end collisions in the span of just one week.

This latest collision happened early Sunday morning. According to Oregon State Police investigators, Dittebrandt, a 52-year old volunteer firefighter (named Firefighter of the Year in 2010), artist and triathlete who lived in Mosier, was riding westbound in the shoulder of I-84. Friends say she was training for a triathlon and was riding from Rowena Crest to Crown Point and back.

Columbia River Hwy State Trail gets major endorsement

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014
Policymakers Ride - Gorge Edition-58
A new section of the path just opened last fall.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

The momentum to complete the remaining 10 miles of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail — a route that will ultimately provide a pleasant bicycling connection between Troutdale and Hood River without ever forcing riders onto Interstate 84 — got a major boost on Friday. In a unanimous vote, the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) approved a resolution (PDF) that puts the project atop the Department of Transportation’s priority list.

The resolution calls for ODOT to fund and construct the final segments and called it, “a project of statewide and national significance.” (more…)

It’s official! New section of Historic Columbia River Hwy State Trail now open

Thursday, November 14th, 2013
Policymakers Ride - Gorge Edition-57
This path is now open.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

A gorgeous new segment of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail is now officially open to the public. The new paved path is 12 feet wide and 1.6 miles long. It goes from the John B Yeon State Park trailhead to the Moffett Creek Bridge. Its completion marks a significant milestone because it’s now possible to ride a bicycle between Troutdale and Cascade Locks without ever having to ride on the shoulder of Interstate 84.

We got a sneak peek at this back in August and it is a truly stunning place to ride. The new shared-use path is 12-feet wide and is ADA compatible. There’s also a new 76-foot long, 16-foot wide bridge over McCord Creek that ODOT says, “reflects the craftsmanship of the original highway design.” Other features include a new picnic and rest area with views of Beacon Rock and a link to US Forest Service Trail 400 that connects to Elowah Falls. (more…)

New brewery in Cascade Locks hopes to bank on bike tourism

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013
Policymakers Ride - Gorge Edition-72
Thirsty riders head into Cascade Locks after a day
on Columbia River Highway State Trail.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

There’s no amount of research about the huge economic benefits of bike tourism that can compare to seeing a bit of it happen before your eyes.

Years in the planning and opening Saturday, the new Thunder Island Brewing Company in Cascade Locks, Ore. (home of the spectacular Bonneville Dam and the Bridge of the Gods) is a Portland-grown project that’s setting out to serve tourists — especially those enjoying the newly reconnected Historic Columbia River Highway on their bikes.

Two chances to get sneak peek at new Gorge bike path

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013
Policymakers Ride - Gorge Edition-53
The new bridge over McCord Creek
is a highlight of the State Trail.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has announced that a newly paved section of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail will officially open to the public on October 31st. But there are two ways you can get a sneak preview and earn bragging rights as one of the first people to ever ride across this exciting new path segment.

ODOT and the Oregon Parks & Recreation Department are hosting a special dedication ceremony for the new section of path on September 14th. The event is part of three days of “Historic Highway Revived” festivities based in the small town of Cascade Locks. Why Cascade Locks? Well, the small town of about 1,150 people is about to see a bicycle tourism boom. Once the State Trail officially opens, people will be able to ride from Troutdale to Cascade Locks without making one pedal stroke on the busy, noisy, and dangerous shoulder of Interstate 84. It’s 27 miles of cycling bliss on winding, tree-covered, scenic roads — many miles of which are completely carfree.

Columbia River Gorge lays out a feast for pedaling policymakers

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013
Policymakers Ride - Gorge Edition-17
Elected leaders and transportation officials from Oregon and Washington got on bikes last weekend and got inspired by the Historic Columbia River Highway and State Trail.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

On Friday, the Columbia River Gorge put its best face forward, and the timing couldn’t have been better.

Guest Article: An update from ODOT on the Historic Columbia River Highway

Thursday, May 16th, 2013
A tour of the Historic Columbia River Highway
The Historic Columbia River Highway is a bicycling gem.
And it just keeps getting better.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

This guest article was written by ODOT’s Region 1 Transit and Active Transportation Liaison Jessica Horning and ODOT’s Historic Columbia River Highway project coordinator Kristen Stallman.

The Historic Columbia River Highway is one of Oregon’s most popular and scenic destinations regardless of your preferred mode of travel. The 73-mile route from Troutdale to The Dalles provides amazing views of the best the Columbia River Gorge has to offer, from waterfalls to windswept high plains. The highway was constructed in 1913 with a maximum 5 percent grade, making it an ideal route for a long distance bike ride. The Historic Highway is also a designated scenic byway, making it a popular shared route for motorists and bicyclists alike.

In 2013, the Historic Highway will see improvements that will make this scenic gem more accessible, with more opportunities for visitors to enjoy the Gorge by foot, bike, and car.

Several popular roads set for paving, construction projects

Friday, August 3rd, 2012
Sauvie Island Strawberry Ride
Expect a smoother road —
and a traffic mess — on Sauvie Island.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

We’re smack dab in the middle of the long-awaited summer riding season here in the Portland region. Unfortunately, the dry weather is also prime time for city, county, and state transportation agencies to do major repaving and road projects. Several have come across my desk in recent days so I figured I’d put them front page so you can better plan your rides and/or know what to expect out there. If you know of other road projects that impact popular riding roads, please add them into the comments.

The first project will impact a major gateway to riding in the Gorge. The Federal Highway Administration is set to begin a four month closure out on the Historic Columbia River Highway near Crown Point. I first shared word of this back in February. Earlier this week, an FHWA staffer emailed an update and asked me to share it with the community. (more…)

Project comes with four month closure of popular Gorge road

Friday, February 3rd, 2012
Crown Point is a popular biking destination.
(Photo: Carye Bye)

For four months beginning this fall, a Federal Highway Administration project in the Columbia River Gorge will come with a road closure that will prohibit vehicle access — including bikes — to popular bicycling routes on the Historic Columbia River Highway (HCRH).

The Crown Point Viaduct Project will replace the aging, 600-foot long “half-bridge” that supports the sidewalk around Vista House, a popular viewpoint and destination. The project area also includes restoration to portions of the HCRH between Larch Mountain Road and Crown Point, and between Crown Point and Latourell Falls. (Fun trivia: The HCRH is one of only two roads in the United States designated as a National Historic Landmark, a National Scenic Byway, and a National Historic District.) (more…)

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