While most of the Columbia River Gorge trails and sites remain closed to prevent crowding and the spread of Covid-19, the U.S. Forest Service announced that portions of the road and path used to access them have been re-opened.
Back in April the Oregon Department of Transportation closed 14 miles of the Historic Columbia River Highway (US 30) between Larch Mountain and Ainsworth State Park. After first closing a seven-mile portion (Angel’s Rest to Ainsworth), ODOT says unruly crowds who disobeyed the closure forced them to further restrict access.
ODOT also closed the entirety of the Historic Highway State Trail.
Today ODOT, USFS, and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department announced that a limited number of trails and day-use sites are now open for business as part of a “phased resumption of access that will likely span several months”. Along with them, several popular sections of the Historic Highway are once again available for cycling.
Here’s the latest status report relevant to bicycle riders (not a full list):
— The Historic Columbia River Highway remains closed between Larch Mountain Road and Ainsworth.
— The Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail is open from Hood River to Mosier (the “Twin Tunnels” section) and along the newer section from Wyeth to Viento. The section from John B. Yeon to Cascade Locks remains closed (this includes John B. Yeon, Tooth Rock, and Cascade Locks trailheads and parking areas).
— Parks open for day use (with restrooms and water!) include Dabney, Sandy River State Park, and Portland Women’s Forum.
— The Forest Service is opening Balfour-Klickitat, Larch Mountain Recreation Area, Lyle Trailhead and the Klickitat Trail.
Before you plan a ride, be sure to check ReadySetGorge.com and prepare for “plan B” if closures change at the last minute. Also please be a respectful Gorge visitor and maintain a safe distance from others, leave no trace, be responsible about food and drink procurement (best idea is to bring your own), and stay away from crowded areas.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and email@example.com
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Yeah…its amazing what people leave unlocked as they are busy takin’ fotos in pretty places.
Wish the Yeon to Cascade Locks section was open. Only eastbound option is through the I-84 tunnel. Scary!
McKenzie Pass is open. No cars until June 15. Weekends are a mob scene, though.
As of today, the gate to Larch Mountain is still closed