Nearly one year after the pandemic closed every property in the Oregon State Parks system, almost all the attractions in the Columbia River Gorge will be accessible once again following some scheduled reopenings.
On March 12, you can book a stay at Ainsworth State Park in Cascade Locks, which also features the popular trailhead to Horsetail Falls. Then, on April 9, reservations will be accepted at Viento State Park near Hood River. And just last week, Mosier's Memaloose State Park joined other sites in resuming normal operations.
While some features in the Gorge are still experiencing a reduction in services or face restrictions on facilities, the latest reopenings mean that the majority of the parks there are back up and running. Closures at this point are primarily linked to damage due to rain, ice and landslides, like the trail between the Bridge of the Gods and Toothrock as well as the staircase leading to the waterfall at Shepperd's Dell State Natural Area.
The exception to that is the viewpoint and historic Vista House at Crown Point. Crowding in the relatively small area is still a concern because of COVID-19.
As we get closer to spring break, Oregon State Parks wants to remind visitors to always check the status of the destination they'd like to visit before heading out. Some locations, like Collier Memorial State Park and Detroit Lake, were damaged by last September's wildfires. Rangers continue to evaluate their status to determine if and when those places can reopen to campers.
"Our park staff, operating with fewer employees because of a revenue shortfall that prevented us from hiring our usual seasonal staff, have rallied and are looking forward to the coming months," Lisa Sumption, director of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, stated on the agency's website. "We're very grateful to them and to all state park visitors for their patience."