Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness: Columbia Gorge

  

Mark O Hatfield Wilderness

Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness is located east of Portland, OR within the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area and Mt. Hood National Forest. The north part of the Wilderness has features characteristic of the Columbia River Gorge, including basalt cliffs and multiple waterfalls. As you climb from the river, the steep cliffs and waterfalls give way to panoramic views of the Cascade Range and Columbia River Gorge. The slopes rise from near sea level to the Benson Plateau and on to mountain peaks, talus slopes, and lakes. Elevations range from approximately 100 feet near the Columbia River to 4,900 feet on Mount Defiance. Some main waterways - Herman Creek, Eagle Creek, and Tanner Creek - flow north toward the river, supporting borders of western hemlock and fir. 

Expansion of Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness in 2009 includes the Gorge Face and Larch Mountain additions. The Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness - Gorge Face includes the cliffs, canyons, and waterfalls from Oneonta Creek west to Viento Creek in Hood River County. The northern boundary of this addition is within one mile of the Columbia River. The Larch Mountain addition to the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness includes Multnomah Creek, Oneonta Creek canyon, and Bell Creek. These drainages contain old-growth Douglas fir and cedar.

The southwest boundary of the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness is the Bull Run Watershed, which provides drinking water to the Portland metropolitan area. To protect the water supply the watershed is closed to public entry except for the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail which travels along the eastern edge of the watershed.  Many of the 200 miles of trails follow drainages and often contain steep cliffs or drop offs near the trail and may be of concern for people uncomfortable with heights. Many of the trails are interconnected providing a number of loop opportunities.  


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At a Glance

Permit Info: Wilderness Permits are required for both day use and overnight stays from Memorial Day Weekend until Oct. 31.  Free permits are self-issued at the trailhead. 
Restrictions: Wilderness restrictions apply
  • Camping is prohibited north of High Bridge along Eagle Creek Trail #440
  • Dogs must be on a leash no longer than 6 feet on the Eagle Creek Trail
  • Building, attending, maintaining, or using a fire, except for a pressurized liquid or gas stove, is prohibited:
    • from June 1 through September 15 between Eagle Creek Trail #440, at the Wilderness Boundary, to junction with Eagle-Tanner Trail # 433, and
    • within 200 feet of Wahtum Lake, except at designated sites cfr 261.52(a).
  • Camping within 200 feet of the shoreline of Wahtum Lake, is prohibited except at designated campsites. 
  • Stock are allowed only on The Pacific Crest Trail #2000 and Herman Creek Trail# 406. All other trails in the Mark O Hatfield Wilderness are closed to stock.
Closest Towns: Hood River, OR Portland, OR
Passes: Some trailheads require a day use fee. View a list of available recreation passes that may be used in lieu of day use fee payment. 
Information Center:

General Information

Directions:

Mark O Hatfield Wilderness is located east of Portland, OR. Trailheads that lead into Mark O Hatfield Wilderness are accessed from Interstate 84 in the Columbia River Gorge, and Whatum Lake in the Mt. Hood National Forest.  

Trail/trailhead access to Mark O Hatfield Wilderness from I-84 between Troutdale and Hood River, OR

Topo Maps

Bonneville Dam, Carson, Dee, Mount Defiance, Tanner Butte, Whatum Lake. Download free U.S. Forest Service Topo maps here.

Buy maps online

Buy maps online at the National Forest Store.

Wilderness.net 

Go to Wilderness.net for online maps and other important Wilderness information.

Recreation opportunities

Approximately 14 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail and the Eagle Creek Trail receive the most use in Mark O Hatfield Wilderness. The Eagle Creek Trail, with seven waterfalls, a tunnel, and designated campsites, can be hiked in a 16-mile-plus loop that includes a climb over Tanner Butte. Eagle Creek Trail's proximity to Portland makes it a popular destination. If you require solitude, take one of the quieter trails; Tanner Butte, Herman Creek, and Nick Eaton Ridge. Each of these is approximately 10 to 12 miles round-trip.


Activities


Fishing

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Hiking

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Horse Riding & Camping

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Nature Viewing

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Areas & Activities

Highlights

  • Recreation Passes
  • Benson Bridge Closure Link opens in a Pdf Document
    Early in the morning on Thursday January 9, 2014, a large rock fell from the surrounding cliffs at Multnomah Falls and damaged the historic pedestrian Benson Bridge. The bridge sustained damage to a 4x4 foot section of the pedestrian bridge and associated railings. Due to damage on the bridge, Benson Bridge is closed at Multnomah Falls for safety reasons indefinitely until repairs can be made. The trail leading to the bridge is closed at both sections of the bridge until a design and repairs can be completed. It is anticipated that the bridge closure will last several months. Visitors will be able to hike the Larch Mountain trail #441 up to Benson Bridge, which will still allow visitors good views of the iconic falls. All other trails in the area will remain open. However, the popular Wahkeena to Multnomah Falls loop and the Horsetail Falls to Multnomah Falls loop will not be passable due to the closure.
  • Cape Horn Peregrine Falcon Closure Link opens in a Pdf Document
    Seasonal closure February 1 through July 15 at Cape Horn ensures their continuing presence.