Western Columbia Gorge reopens

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Brian95
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Western Columbia Gorge reopens

Post by Brian95 » November 23rd, 2018, 3:34 pm

https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DO ... 574101.pdf
https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/crgnsa/n ... EPRD603764

For those unaware, the western end of the Gorge has reopened! The eastern boundary is defined by the lower Larch Mountain, Multnomah Spur, and upper Oneonta Trails. Franklin Ridge, lower Oneonta, and Bell Creek remain closed.

At least according to the map, it also looks like in the areas outside of the trail closures it's legal to go off-trail again! This would mean that Foxglove and the like would be legal as well. Exciting! But I didn't notice this info confirmed in any written source. I was hoping they'd open Wahclella as well since the damage doesn't appear to be too bad there, but I guess that will have to wait.... Also looks like they've re-closed the Benson Way trail?

Lurch
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Re: Western Columbia Gorge reopens

Post by Lurch » November 23rd, 2018, 4:16 pm

Yes there are some openings today. Please please please be careful out there, trails are still damaged, landmarks look different, signage isnt all there, there's still many hazard trees, and active rock fall in places. The areas less badly damaged now have a year of overgrowth covering the trails as well.. It's not somewhere to be after dark.

I would also strongly advise against going off trail, the ash layer has a waxy consistency, coupled with the rains we have, and the slopes found in the gorge, it's like climbing a mountain of wet clay.

Brian95
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Re: Western Columbia Gorge reopens

Post by Brian95 » November 23rd, 2018, 4:29 pm

Lurch wrote:
November 23rd, 2018, 4:16 pm
I would also strongly advise against going off trail, the ash layer has a waxy consistency, coupled with the rains we have, and the slopes found in the gorge, it's like climbing a mountain of wet clay.
Thank you for the info. I assume the unofficial trails like Foxglove have had no maintenance work done? If they haven't then perhaps they're best to avoid as well for the time being...no Devil's rest loop I guess.

Lurch
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Re: Western Columbia Gorge reopens

Post by Lurch » November 23rd, 2018, 5:43 pm

I can't speak to what's closed, but the foxgloves are burnt and very overgrown

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arlohike
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Re: Western Columbia Gorge reopens

Post by arlohike » November 24th, 2018, 11:15 am

Whoa, that's a nice surprise. People seem to have found out quickly ... I happened to be going by the Angel's Rest trailhead this morning and it was already back to pre-fire activity level.

On a side note, I've been noticing that other trails that are still closed no longer have a person guarding the trailhead. The Nesmith trailhead, for example. That makes driving through the Gorge feel a little more normal.

I already have plans for this weekend, but I'm looking forward to checking out one of the newly-reopened trails next weekend.

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Bosterson
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Re: Western Columbia Gorge reopens

Post by Bosterson » November 24th, 2018, 12:38 pm

arlohike wrote:
November 24th, 2018, 11:15 am
On a side note, I've been noticing that other trails that are still closed no longer have a person guarding the trailhead. The Nesmith trailhead, for example. That makes driving through the Gorge feel a little more normal.
That's because the Yeon trailhead is "open" but you're not allowed to do any of the hikes from it. :?:

No but really, I think it's open so people can use the bike path.
Will hike off trail for fun.

pablo
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Re: Western Columbia Gorge reopens

Post by pablo » November 24th, 2018, 1:13 pm

At least according to the map, it also looks like in the areas outside of the trail closures it's legal to go off-trail again!
I did the loop around Multnomah and Wahkeena this morning and the posted FS notice about open trails (Larch, Wahkeena, Angels Rest, etc.) mentions the 25' restriction. I would assume trails outside the list are off limits. I will let someone else test how well they are enforcing this. At some point in time Foxglove and Primrose can be brought back in a couple of weekends of lopping branches - there are tons of good GPS tracks for these 2 use trails.

Palmer Mill road is also open so maybe we can wander around the BV Platter like the old days.

The number of parking places along the HCRH has been reduced at both Wahkeena and Multnomah Falls, get there before 9:00-9:30 and you should find a spot.

--Paul
The future's uncertain and the end is always near.

squidvicious
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Re: Western Columbia Gorge reopens

Post by squidvicious » November 24th, 2018, 4:02 pm

pablo wrote:
November 24th, 2018, 1:13 pm
The number of parking places along the HCRH has been reduced at both Wahkeena and Multnomah Falls, get there before 9:00-9:30 and you should find a spot.
Curious, for Wahkeena is it an issue with just the road spots, or is the parking in the lower day use picnic area also filling / not open? I'm expecting it to be a zoo out there for a while, but hoping for something less than a mid-summer-level zoo.

Think I'm going to wait for a damp weekday, myself.

pablo
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Re: Western Columbia Gorge reopens

Post by pablo » November 24th, 2018, 5:34 pm

squidvicious wrote:
November 24th, 2018, 4:02 pm
pablo wrote:
November 24th, 2018, 1:13 pm
The number of parking places along the HCRH has been reduced at both Wahkeena and Multnomah Falls, get there before 9:00-9:30 and you should find a spot.
Curious, for Wahkeena is it an issue with just the road spots, or is the parking in the lower day use picnic area also filling / not open? I'm expecting it to be a zoo out there for a while, but hoping for something less than a mid-summer-level zoo.

Think I'm going to wait for a damp weekday, myself.
The road spots at Wahkeena have concrete barriers and at M-Falls the south side of the road west of the lodge has concrete barriers which I assume is to prevent rock fall from the cliffs above damaging cars or people that might be there.

--Paul
The future's uncertain and the end is always near.

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arlohike
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Re: Western Columbia Gorge reopens

Post by arlohike » November 24th, 2018, 8:44 pm

pablo wrote:
November 24th, 2018, 5:34 pm
The road spots at Wahkeena have concrete barriers and at M-Falls the south side of the road west of the lodge has concrete barriers
Just to clarify, do you mean the concrete barriers are taking up the space where cars used to park?

I saw the big sign near the Bridal Veil exit warning about parking in official spots only, but wasn't sure if that meant only in parking lots, or if shoulder parking was still okay as long as cars are off the road. Around Angel's Rest and Wakheena it's pretty clear where a car will fit and where it won't, and in years past I've seen tow trucks taking away cars that were hanging out onto the road. I wonder if those are still the rules, or if the rules have changed, or if these new barriers make it a moot point.

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