Cape Horn, Dog Mountain, and Klickitat Trails Close in Washington

Contact(s): Rachel Pawlitz

Cape Horn, Dog Mountain, and Klickitat Trails Close in Washington
Forest Service Supports Partners by Closing Crowded Trailheads

Stevenson, WA. — March 25, 2020 — Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

The U.S. Forest Service is closing three trailheads on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, to support partners in preventing the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The three new closures will go into effect at the end of today at Cape Horn Trail, Dog Mountain Trail, and the Lyle Trailhead of Klickitat Trail.

The measure is designed to support partners at Skamania County, Washington State Parks, and Cape Horn Conservancy in their efforts to minimize the spread of the COVID‑19 coronavirus.  

Cape Horn Trail is managed with support from Skamania County, who owns the Park and Ride lot that many use to access the site. Both the county and Cape Horn Conservancy, who helps maintain the trail, reached out to the USFS for support in closing the trail.

Dog Mountain Trail is a popular spring hike, which draws crowds to view wildflower meadows and views of the Gorge. In recent years, the USFS has partnered with Skamania County each spring to protect public safety using a permit system that relies on transit as an alternative means for hikers to reach the popular trailhead. The program protects motorists along the highway by preventing parking from spilling over along narrow shoulders of State Route 14. Last weekend, crowds on par with peak season created hazards along the state highway, and the Dog Mountain Shuttle has been cancelled to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Klickitat Trail is a Rails-to-Trails conversion that crosses multiple jurisdictions. The USFS helps maintain the Lyle Trailhead, which sits on Washington State Park lands. The closure of the trailhead is consistent with the Washington State Park decision to close all day use areas, including trailheads, effective tonight.

Scenic area leadership continues to evaluate risks at other “close proximity” recreation sites and anticipates more closures and restrictions with little advanced notice. Updates will be posted on the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area website at:

Though some trails in the Columbia River Gorge remain open, it may be hard to maintain the recommended six feet of space from other hikers on popular trails, as they attract people from miles around. If an area is too crowded to maintain six feet of distance from other hikers, please do not exit your car. Have a backup plan and consider a walk in your local neighborhood.