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Eagle Creek Highway Bridge

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

The Eagle Creek Bridge on the Historic Columbia River Highway (Steve Hart)
Looking west on to the bridge. The road is currently a freeway offramp (Steve Hart)

Contents

Description

The original Columbia River Highway was filled with architectural marvels. In a world of viaducts and arched bridges, the bridge over over Eagle Creek isn't the longest or the highest. Like it's brethren, though, it has a grace that modern bridges often lack. When originally built in 1915, the stone walls extended eastward through the area now filled by the fish hatchery. The campground was built soon after the highway.

When Bonneville Dam was constructed in the 1930s, the Columbia River Highway was changed in this area. The big project, of course, was Tooth Rock Tunnel, west of here. To the east, the railroad was moved on to the original highway alignment and the highway was moved a bit farther south to make room. A new multi-span, through-arch concrete bridge was built over Eagle Creek. A private campground north of the highway disappeared under the new highway and railroad grades and a new viewpoint was created to the north. It's unclear if the old bridge was in use during this time period.

In the 1960s, further changes affected the area. The 1930s bridge was demolished to make way for a second set of highway lanes and with new bridges, the Tooth Rock Tunnel route became the eastbound lanes of Interstate 80N, now called Interstate 84. New westbound freeway lanes were created on a free standing bridge skirting Tooth Rock. The original Eagle Creek Bridge was used as a freeway exit, creating access from the new grade to the Eagle Creek Campground and Fish Hatchery. In 1996, the original highway in this area was restored as the Historic Columbia River Highway Trail. Since the bridge is still in use by automobiles, hikers need to take care. To the west the trail continues as a sheltered shoulder of the freeway ramp for a short distance. Then a staircase connects the highway to the original highway grade. East of the bridge, the trail continues as a guarded shoulder skirting the fish hatchery until the original highway grade picks up again.

Today, the bridge remains in use by hikers and cars, fulfilling a modified purpose undreamed of in 1915.

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Guidebooks that cover this destination

  • Day Hike! Columbia Gorge, by Seabury Blair, Jr.
  • Afoot and Afield Portland/Vancouver, by Douglas Lorain
  • 35 Hiking Trails, Columbia River Gorge, by Don & Roberta Lowe
  • Columbia River Gorge, 42 Scenic Hikes, by Don & Roberta Lowe
  • Hiking the Columbia River Gorge - 1st and 2nd Editions, by Russ Schneider
  • 100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon - 3rd Edition, by William L Sullivan

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Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.