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

Posted by on November 14th, 2013 at 12:08 pm

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.

This $8.1 million project (funded in part by an FHWA grant) was the final link in what is now a continuous, 34-mile ride between Troutdale and Cascade Locks with 26 miles on the Historic Columbia River Highway (a beautiful, narrow road open for driving and bicycling) and 6.5 miles of shared-use path. ODOT’s ultimate plans are to extend this route all the way to Hood River by 2016 — which will be the 100th birthday of the Historic Highway. That final 9 miles is estimated to cost about $47 million. To date, ODOT has restored 62 of the original 73 miles of the Historic Highway between Troutdale and The Dalles.

As we’ve reported, this new path has already sparked economic development in Cascade Locks and as word spreads this is sure to become a signature bicycling attraction in the region. Troutdale is only about 16 miles east of downtown Portland so get out there this weekend and check it out!

Here are a few more photos to whet your appetite…

Policymakers Ride - Gorge Edition-53

New bridge over McCord Creek
Policymakers Ride - Gorge Edition-60

Separated from the interstate.
Policymakers Ride - Gorge Edition-52

Separated from the interstate.

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Todd Boulanger
Guest

Sweet!! I highly recommend riding along this new facility from what I saw when I road it a few months ago (during a special tour). Now we just need some more bike friendly hostels out there… 🙂

Mike Flynn
Guest
Mike Flynn

This is so awesome. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

AndyC of Linnton
Guest
AndyC of Linnton

Anyone got thoughts on getting to Troutdale? Have some reservations about some routes, specifically Marine Drive west of 33rd, but might try it regardless if it connects to Troutdale. Or is it easier to just take the NE.Tillamook/Halsey/Grant/yadda yadda through the city?

Either way, excited to try this out.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Can’t wait to ride it. I’ve ridden IN the Gorge many times, but never been able to bring myself to ride TO the Gorge until now.

John Lascurettes
Guest

Last photo, LMFTFY: “‘Separated’ from the interstate” 😉

I imagine that they plan on putting in a jersey wall or other fixed barrier. I’d still be every so slightly nervous about any people falling asleep at the wheel barreling onto the path right there without it.

David
Guest
David

One thing this blog is missing is embedded maps. Or maybe I don’t know Portland as well as I thought…

Beth
Guest

My 2004 solo tour attempt was aborted at Elowah Falls because the shoulder of I-84 was so narrow that my loaded touring bike was getting buzzed dangerously close by logging trucks. I tried five times to ride the shoulder, lost my nerve, turned around and finally spent a second night at Ainsworth before going home the next day. I am glad to see this is now a doable ride and I plan to carve out a few days in the summer to give it another go.

Red
Guest
Red

I rode the route from Cascade Locks to McCord Creek and back a week ago: Spectacular! And the Scotch Porter at Thunder Island Brewery in Cascade Locks: Excellent!

James
Guest
James

Finally, great connectivity to the PCT!

In ’99 I walked into PDX from the PCT and didn’t much enjoy that I-84 shoulder!

dennis veatch
Guest

This is a great route, I rode it before it was fully connected and still enjoyed it minus the gaps. Once it’s connected to Hood River then you’ll be able to head all the way out to the Twin Tunnels and Rowena Point and then down to Mosier.
I do hope though that they refer to it as a ‘Path’ as opposed to ‘Trail’ as it impedes the efforts of the Mountain Biking community to get actual Trail access due to semantic confusion.

bikesalot
Guest
bikesalot

Looks like my ride on that path today was one of the first after the official opening, by total coincidence. The spot in the last photo now has a very nice railing between traffic and the bikes. There were, for some reason, quite a few ODOT and contractor folks out there today inspecting and working on various things, with vehicles and a WIDE truck nearly blocking the path. It was open, however, and I squeezed by with no one complaining.

The critical problem at this point is that ill-conceived stairway right above Cascade Locks. Folks touring, or even just riding unloaded on cargo bikes, long recumbents, trikes, velomobiles, tag-along bikes and with bike trailers are likely to turn back at the top as I did. Wheelchair users and others with mobility problems will also suffer the same fate. Cascade Locks is going to loose a lot of business until the project to bypass those stairs finally gets funded and built.

eli bishop
Guest
eli bishop

The Friends of the Historic Columbia River Highway are raising money to replace the awkward stairs with a ramp. Go donate! http://www.hcrh.org/get-involved/

Suburban
Guest
Suburban

This is the secret information which is so hard to find with your search engine:

To find the mysteryous modern Babylon that is Cascade Locks; find NE Halsey Street at dawn and ride towards the sun. If you never ride on Interstate 84, that’s fine. A road’s danger to you is not measured by your personal fear of it’s conditions.

Adam
Guest
Adam

Excited to ride this! Particularly as there is an ice-cream & burger joint in Cascade Locks that will make it doubly worth the ride!!

Larry
Guest
Larry

West of Yeon you have a choice of Interstate or the old hwy (open to cars!)? Not sure which is worse.

Brian
Guest
Brian

What would be a good starting point to ride with my 4 year old on the trail-a-bike as an out and back? I would like to ride as much as possible without being with cars on the Historic Highway.
TIA.

Mike
Guest
Mike

Great news!! This is the perfect antidote to reading about the Hawthorne Bridge rumble strip debacle!

Duwayne Anderson
Guest
Duwayne Anderson

Would like to do this ride. Where do I find directions to the trail heads?

John Beaston
Guest
John Beaston

And another reason to take the ride is Thunder Island Brewing in Cascade Locks is now open. (Th-Sun). They have a great location right on the water. And good beer!

Psyfalcon
Guest
Psyfalcon

Camping?

Looks like there is some at the marine park, but its a bit expensive and barren (more like an RV site it seems?). USFS says the Eagle Creek and Herman Creek CGs are closed. Is that “expect no services” or “no trespassing” type closed?

Pete
Guest
Pete

You Portlanders have it lucky now. Those of us in Hood River have a beach of a time riding on I-84 into westerlies to get to CLAC and Thunder Island… 😉

ME Fitz
Guest
ME Fitz

Does anyone know if the pavement that was so rough just west of the Eagle Creek stairs got redone this summer? That stretch was very rough in late May.

Dimitrios
Guest
Dimitrios

Not that persuasive I know, but I remember thinking “wasn’t this a PITA to ride before?”. I remember not having to dodge uprooted asphalt.

Dave C
Guest
Dave C

I wish someone would get Google to document this ride on there bike layer. I just looked and there are no bike layer routes between Troutdale and the cascades.