Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness: Columbia Gorge

Area Status: Open
Mark O Hatfield Wilderness

Please view the special regulations associated with Wilderness areas and always use Leave No Trace techniques to help keep these areas wild, clean, and pristine.

Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness covers 65,822 acres of basalt cliffs, waterfalls, and lush coniferous forests between Mt. Hood’s northern slope and the sheer cliffs south of the Columbia River. Not far from the only sea-level route through the Cascades, its northern boundary within the National Scenic Area is near a busy transportation corridor, while its southwest boundary is much more remote terrain in Mt. Hood National Forest. Travelers seeking solitude may pass through heavily visited areas within the Columbia River Gorge before the crowds thin, making it critical to practice leave no trace principles and observe the wilderness ethic and regulations.

First designated in 1984, Hatfield Wilderness was expanded in 2009 to include the Gorge Face (from Oneonta Creek west to Viento Creek) and Larch Mountain (Oneonta Creek canyon, Bell Creek, and Multnomah Creek). The main waterways through the area flow north toward the Columbia, through old growth western hemlock and Douglas fir. The wilderness trails that start in the National Scenic Area climb steep drainages to Benson Plateau before continuing on to mountain peaks (4,900-foot Mount Defiance), talus slopes, and high elevation lakes. Those uncomfortable with heights should be aware that these hikes pass steep cliffs and drop-offs. The rewards for trekkers include spectacular views, sparkling waterfalls, and serene old growth forests with mossy-green cliff faces.

Bull Run Watershed, located at the southwest boundary of the wilderness, provides drinking water to the Portland metropolitan area. It is closed to public entry except for the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail which travels along the watershed’s eastern edge. 

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Parts of the wilderness are closed due to post-fire hazards. Plan your hike carefully, and check specific trails for status. Do not hike off trail and respect closure signs.
Fees: Bridge of the Gods Trailhead, Eagle Creek, Wahclella, Herman Creek, Larch Mountain, and Wyeth Trailheads all require a day use fee, a NW Forest Pass, or other valid interagency recreation pass
Permit Info: Wilderness Permits are required for 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 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 and Cascade Locks, OR
Information Center:

General Information


Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness is located east of Portland, OR, and can be accessed from several trailheads off I-84 in the Columbia River Gorge, or via Wahtum Lake in the Mt. Hood National Forest. 

The Waterfall Corridor of the Historic Columbia River is a popular (and congested) entry point from which many longer trails enter the wilderness, including: 

  • Horsetail Falls Trailhead- Horsetail Falls Trail #438 junctions with Oneonta Trail #424
  • Oneonta Trailhead - Oneonta Trail #424 leads to a number of other trails
  • A segment of Larch Mountain Trail, which starts at Multnomah Falls, passes through the Wilderness Area.

How to Get Maps


Lake and Pond Fishing

River and Stream Fishing

Horse Riding

Viewing Wildlife

Viewing Plants

Viewing Scenery

Areas for Viewing Scenery at Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness: Columbia Gorge