Hikers who were hoping to hit the Eagle Creek Trail before the new Columbia River Gorge timed-permit program went into effect will have to pick a different destination for the time being. A significant rock slide has blocked the popular route.
The U.S. Forest Service announced the trail closure May 14 on its social media platforms. The slide happened about 1 mile from the trailhead, and measures approximately 25 feet wide. The agency did not say how long they expected the path to remain off-limits or when cleanup crews would arrive and begin their work.
Landslides are more likely to happen in an area like this forested canyon, which was damaged in the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire sparked by a Washington teenager who tossed fireworks into the ravine. The U.S. Forest Service says that rockfall and mudslides are likely to continue following heavy rainstorms, and that hikers should stick to trails that are not in recovered burn sites.
Northwest Oregon has seen as much as 300% of its typical rainfall in the first two weeks of May, the National Weather Service announced today.
Road construction that began in April already made it more difficult to access the Eagle Creek Recreation Area. Exit 41 off Interstate 84 had been closed for weeks while the Oregon Department of Transportation began repairing Toothrock Tunnel and repaving 14 miles of freeway between Multnomah Falls and Cascade Locks.
The exit actually reopened May 13, allowing drivers to access both the Eagle Creek Trailhead and campground—the same day overnight camping reopened this year. At this point, there have been no announcements saying the slide has affected camping facilities.