Three trails accessible from Starvation Creek State Park and several short trails leading to lakes in the Mt. Hood National Forest reopened Friday for the first time since the Eagle Creek Fire.
The newly reopened segment of the paved Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail segment passes by four waterfalls and is the entry point for rugged Starvation Ridge Trail (#414) and Mt. Defiance Trail (#413). Starvation Creek State Park, accessible to eastbound traffic only at exit 55, is limited to 29 parking spots, so visitors are encouraged to head out early or go mid-week to find a spot. Park only when there's room and it's safe to do so.
Several short trails leading to Wahtum, Black, Bear, North, Rainy, and Warren Lakes on the Mt. Hood National Forest also reopened, along with the lakes themselves. These trails are accessible from Forest Road 2820 or Forest Road 1310 in Mt. Hood National Forest.
All the newly reopened trails are located on the eastern fringe of the Eagle Creek Fire perimeter, and may have increased hazards and damage from the fire. Some adjacent trails in the vicinity remain closed, because they lead into dangerous, heavily impacted areas. Hikers are advised to respect closure signs and remain only on open trails. Violators that enter closed areas are subject to citations and fines.
“It’s more important than ever to stay on the trail,” said Stan Hinatsu, recreation staff officer for the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, “Hikers should watch out for fire-related hazards both overhead and underfoot. This includes fire-weakened trees, and blockages on the trail such as downed trees, rockslides, landslides, stumpholes, and washouts.”
The segment of the paved State Trail east of Lindsey Creek is closed due to construction of the newest segment. Closures remain in effect for the Historic Columbia River Highway from Bridal Veil to Ainsworth. Most National Forest System lands impacted by Eagle Creek Fire remain closed—including the area south of I-84 up to the southern boundary of the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness, from 25 feet west of Mt. Defiance Trail to Alex Barr Road and Thompson Mill Road. Please check the closure map before heading out, and respect all closure signs and barriers.
In these newly opened areas and in any backcountry environment, hikers should wear sturdy footwear and bring sufficient supplies to survive overnight (food, water, headlamps, extra clothing and shelter). For more tips on safe recreation and ideas for more hiking and biking destinations in the Columbia River Gorge, visit ReadySetGorge.com.
For a full list of Eagle Creek Fire closures and more details about response efforts, visit eaglecreekfireresponse.