Columbia River Gorge Hiking Trails and Waterfalls Remain Closed, Despite Boating and Fishing Access

Release Date: May 8, 2020

Contact: Rachel Pawlitz, 503-758-2624, rachel.pawlitz@usda.gov

Hood River, Ore. — May 8, 2020 — Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

The vast majority of hiking trails, waterfalls, and parks in the Columbia River Gorge remain closed at this time to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Even as state parks in Oregon and Washington have begun to partially reopen and federal agencies have eased restrictions on access to public lands, there has been a consistent interagency approach to maintaining closures at sites that draw crowds too large to comply with current health authority guidelines. The Columbia River Gorge attracts millions of visitors each year, so many recreation sites within the Gorge currently remain closed.

Conversations are underway among federal, state, local, and tribal governments about aligning with state and local orders and keeping each other informed of their frameworks for phasing in access to public lands and waterways.

Here is an interagency snapshot of recreation site status in the Columbia River Gorge:

  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has opened Avery Park, Hess Park, North Shore Recreation Area, Spearfish Park in Washington above The Dalles Dam for day use. The boat ramp at Celilo Park in Oregon is open, but the rest of the park remains closed. At Bonneville Dam, the Fort Cascades, Hamilton Island, North Shore Recreation Areas in Washington and Tanner Creek Recreation Area in Oregon are open for day use, but Bradford Island and Robin’s Island Recreation Areas remain closed. Camping and overnight use is not permitted, and visitor centers, playgrounds and group picnic sites remain closed.
  • Washington State Parks sites remain closed except for fishing access available at Maryhill State Park and Horsethief Lake (note, there is no Columbia River access at Horsethief).
  • Oregon State Parks trails, parks, boat ramps, and campgrounds remain closed within the Columbia River Gorge. This includes all sections of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail.
  • The Historic Columbia River Highway remains closed from Bridal Veil to Ainsworth, with a daytime closure from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the section from Larch Mountain Road to Bridal Veil.
  • All National Forest System lands within the boundaries of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area remain closed to public access. Many dispersed recreation and hunting/fishing opportunities (in accordance with state laws) are available in other National Forest System lands throughout the Pacific Northwest.
  • Friends of the Columbia Gorge hiking trails remain closed.

The neighboring Gifford Pinchot National Forest and Mt. Hood National Forest still have closures in effect at developed recreation sites. For details, visit www.fs.usda.gov/giffordpinchot and www.fs.usda.gov/mthood.

For the latest fishing and hunting regulations, check with the appropriate state department of fish and wildlife.

When there are changes to the status of National Forest System lands in the Columbia River Gorge, announcements will be posted on fs.usda.gov/crgnsa. The Ready, Set, Gorge partnership has also been in discussions about updating its ReadySetGorge.com website in the coming weeks with a new interface and updated visitor information for the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area through the 2020 summer recreation season.

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https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/crgnsa/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD735393