Soak In The Scenery On This Oregon Trail That Was Once A Historic Highway
When you walk, run, or bike portions of The Historic Columbia River Highway Trail, you’re taking a journey though some of Oregon’s most stunning scenery. You’re also traveling down a piece of history that was almost forgotten and lost forever.
The Columbia River Highway was built between 1913 and 1922, covering 75 miles from Troutdale to The Dales. This map, originally published in Good Roads Magazine in 1916, shows the original highway.
The highway immediately had issues, since the number of drivers exceeded its capacity. Rockfall was a constant issue, and the highway was diverted a few times and widened, and the Mosier Twin Tunnels were also widened and had one-way traffic signals installed.
In the 1960s, Interstate 84 was built parallel to the Columbia River Highway, making the original highway obsolete. Several sections were largely abandoned and forgotten for almost two decades.
Restoration of the Historic Columbia River Highway began in 1987, and since then nearly all of the 75 miles of road have been restored. Three sections of the highway are reserved just for bike/pedestrian traffic.
Each of the three sections offer paved trail, scenic vistas, and points of interest.
The Bonneville Segment is a lush, green section that runs from John B. Yeon State Park to Cascade Locks, and features several waterfalls.
Starting in Corbett, you'll see Vista House, Latourell Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, Wahkeena Falls, Multnomah Falls, and several others.
Part of this segment is located in the "Waterfall Zone," which also allows cars.
The Mitchell Point Segment is currently just three miles long. Once the last five miles is restored, it will connect to the Twin Tunnels Segment, which stretches Senator Mark O. Hatfield West Trailhead to the Mark O. Hatfield East Trailhead.
Along this stretch of the highway, you'll travel through the Mosier Twin Tunnels.
This section is four miles long. You'll pay a $3 day-use fee at the trail heads on either end.
Right now, it's difficult to travel the entire Historic Columbia River Highway Trail at once, since the five-mile section at Mitchell Point isn't completed yet. You can travel along I-84, but the shoulder is narrow. In the meantime, choose a section and set out on a shorter adventure!
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Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail, Historic Columbia River Hwy State Trail, Cascade Locks, OR 97014, USA