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Eagle Creek Staircase

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

The Eagle Creek Staircase (Steve Hart)
A young hiker standing on the first yard of the Portage Road Trail. The stop sign is at the top of the Eagle Creek Staircase. (Steve Hart)


When the old Historic Columbia River Highway was reopened as a trail in 1996, some of it was just missing. Trail builders used a variety of techniques to connect the sections. Here, east of Tooth Rock, a large section of the road and the rock beneath it was blasted away to provide an approach to the new Tooth Rock Tunnel in 1937. The new highway surface is about 40 feet lower than the old. Trail builders had to resort to a staircase to link the two sections together. Bicyclists will need to get off and walk, but a bike groove has been provided alongside the stairway to facilitate pushing bikes.

However, the staircase is not ADA-compliant, and there are plans to replace it with a viaduct that will connect both levels of the Historic Highway Trail.

A few feet west of the Stop sign at the top of the staircase is a hidden junction with another historic trail. This trail follows an 1856 portage road westward over the ridge behind Tooth Rock. The old wagon road has become very overgrown and blocked by downed trees since the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire. It reconnects with the Historical Columbia River Highway State Trail near the Tooth Rock Trailhead (see the Tooth Rock Loop Hike).

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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.