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Ruckel Creek Bridge

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Lower Ruckel Creek Falls with the bridge just above (Matt Reeder)
Engineering diagram of the Ruckel Creek Bridge


This bridge was built as a part of the Columbia River Highway in 1915. Located at MP 44.6, it was designed by highway engineer LW Metzger. Although the actual bridge is very short, the masonry guardrail makes it appear larger from the highway. It was only used for 22 years before being bypassed in 1937 as part of the Bonneville Dam relocation.

This section of the highway was basically forgotten until the Gorge Trail was assembled in the 1970s. The Gorge Trail utilized the abandoned highway for over a mile from just east of Eagle Creek Campground across the Ruckel Creek Bridge and on to a point where the old highway was demolished to make room for the newer highway, now I-84.

In 1999, this portion of the old highway was restored as the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail. The guardrails on the Ruckel Creek Bridge were restored and reconstructed where necessary. The entire route was repaved and a tunnel was built under the freeway east of the bridge.

Just east of the bridge is the junction with the Ruckel Creek Trail. This trail is somewhat misnamed as the trail doesn't stay very close to the creek. The trail does form one of the main routes to Benson Plateau. Below the bridge, Lower Ruckel Creek Falls spouts from a defile. The falls can be reached by hiking across a strawberry-filled meadow just west of here. Although close to the freeway, the leafy maple grove and cobbled creek at the waterfall make for a soothing and shady stop.

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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.

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