Plan Ahead and Stay on the Trail for a Relaxing, Safe Labor Day

Release Date: Aug 31, 2016

Contact(s): Rachel Pawlitz, 541-308-1744

Hood River, OR – With Labor Day around the corner, visitors to the Gorge are encouraged to plan ahead to avoid congestion on the waterfall corridor and stay on the trail for safety.

“Heading out to one of our picnic areas or trails is a great way to celebrate Labor Day, and with some careful planning you can have an even more relaxing time,” said Lynn Burditt, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Manager.

The Ready, Set, Gorge campaign, recently launched by the Scenic Area as part of a Oregon Solutions multi-agency collaboration, offers tips on how to avoid congestion in areas such as the popular waterfall corridor of the Historic Columbia River Highway that runs from Bridal Veil (I‑84 Exit 28) to Dodson (I-84 Exit 35). Arrive before 10 a.m., carpool, or take transit. For something different, explore the less-discovered, equally beautiful trails and picnic areas in the eastern Gorge or on the Washington side.

Safety is always your responsibility when heading onto trails and rivers. Hikers should wear appropriate footwear, tell someone where they are going and when they expect to be back, and bring the 10 essentials: sun protection, insulation (extra clothing and rain gear), a light, first-aid kit, fire starter and matches, knife or multi-tool, extra food, water, and an emergency shelter.

“Official trails are carefully maintained with the hiker’s safety in mind, and by contrast ‘user’ created side trails are much more likely to have unexpected hazards and drop-offs,” said Stan Hinatsu, Recreation Staff Officer for the Scenic Area. “A good rule of thumb is that if it looks like an unofficial side trail, it probably is. Checking our website beforehand and bringing a map can help you confirm which trails are officially maintained.”

Interactive maps, alerts, and information on Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area recreation sites are available at

The Gorge’s spectacular geology includes many steep drop-offs, so visitors should take precautions by maintaining awareness and keeping a safe distance from cliffs when taking photographs or selfies. Respect signs, barriers, and closures and avoid unofficial side trails that lead to outcrops as they may be unsturdy.

“No view or photograph is worth losing your life,” said Hinatsu.

Those visiting the Lower White Salmon and Klickitat Rivers are reminded to bring life jackets.

Many popular trails require dogs to be kept on leash. Please bring bags and pack out your waste as well as your pet’s waste so others can enjoy the trail.

Families with fourth grade students can receive a free pass to the Scenic Area, valid at many other federal parks and lands, by visiting the Every Kid in A Park website.

The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area encompasses 292,500 acres of Washington and Oregon, where the Columbia River cuts a spectacular river canyon through the Cascade Mountains. The USDA Forest Service manages National Forest lands in the National Scenic Area and works with the Gorge Commission, states, counties, treaty tribes, and partners to protect and enhance scenic, natural, cultural, and recreational resources of the Columbia River Gorge while encouraging local economic development consistent with that protection.

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