Eagle Creek Trail

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NW Yeti
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Eagle Creek Trail

Post by NW Yeti » November 17th, 2019, 2:24 pm

Does anyone know an about (updated) time (year) when TKO/ USFS plans to reopen the Eagle Creek Trail?

Ever since the 2017 fire, I've had a very hard time finding a trail that is even close to the Eagle Creek in distance, elevation, and totally awesome waterfalls. Thanks! :)
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BigBear
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Re: Eagle Creek Trail

Post by BigBear » November 17th, 2019, 5:04 pm

Eagle Creek is a canyon trail (not a ridgeline trail) which means debris slides toward the trail, thus compromising hiker safety. As a result, it is probably the last trail to get enough slope stability after the fire to be regarded safe to be opened

Along this line, the Perdition Trail was closed in the late 1990s (Falls Fire) and is not likely to reopen (ever).

The Elowah Falls trail was closed for 10 years when the viewpoint broke in half. This is the large slab that has the remains of the cable line immediately east of the waterfall (the other half is the debris below the trail).

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Bosterson
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Re: Eagle Creek Trail

Post by Bosterson » November 17th, 2019, 5:55 pm

TKO is not able to make decisions about reopening trails since they're an NGO, but my understanding was that the FS is trying to get Eagle Creek reopened ASAP; that said, as BigBear notes, the slopes keep collapsing onto it (and are not likely to restabilize soon), so it remains to be seen if the trail will actually be reopened in the immediate future. Ditto for Oneonta, which I assume is also high priority (but I don't think they've started working on yet). It's a bit of a Sisyphean project, so it seems like their efforts would be better directed right now to trails unlikely to collapse in the future (hello Horsetail Creek) in order to get the most bang for their/our buck, but we know all about how tight the FS's budget is these days... :roll:
BigBear wrote:
November 17th, 2019, 5:04 pm
The Elowah Falls trail was closed for 10 years when the viewpoint broke in half. This is the large slab that has the remains of the cable line immediately east of the waterfall (the other half is the debris below the trail).
I've never heard of this - are you referring to the McCord Creek trail above, or the 400 below? Did the McCord Creek trail previously cross above the falls to a viewpoint on the east side? When was this?

Perdition will never be reopened because they blew all their money on the Escher stairs. ;)
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bobcat
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Re: Eagle Creek Trail

Post by bobcat » November 17th, 2019, 8:16 pm

Re: Eagle Creek - the two new bridges are in. Pretty sure they'll wait until spring 2020 to reopen the trail after a PCTA crew has gone in to do winter cleanup.
Bosterson wrote:
November 17th, 2019, 5:55 pm
are you referring to the McCord Creek trail above, or the 400 below?
I think he's referring to the 400 just east of McCord Creek where that large boulder came down. I was there on a crew just a few days ago. Upper McCord and that section of the 400 are now cleared after being submerged in scree and debris in many places. The Elowah Viewpoint spur that runs above the big boulder is also clear now. The CCC walls have received months of expert attention from TKO and are well-restored. We think they'll wait until spring to open those trails though. Trees will be coming down in the next few months.

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BigBear
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Re: Eagle Creek Trail

Post by BigBear » November 18th, 2019, 9:20 am

No, I am referring to an excerpt from Don & Roberta Lowe's Columbia River Gorge hiking book (circa 1970) that mentioned this closure and the reluctance to reopen this section of Gorge 400 to determine if any more basalt would be coming down onto the trail.

I also forgot to mention the slab that fell off of the wall below Multnomah Falls which closed the pool at the base of the main falls forever. I remembered the good ole days where relaxing int he cool mist after a hike on a hot summer day felt so nice. This was back int he days when the trail above the viewing deck was virtually void of humans.

My point was simply to mention the level of caution USFS uses when assessing the safety of a trail reopening after a significant event.

The Escher staircase was the result of the February 1996 rains that washed out many a trail. I was on a few of the work parties that Bus Gibson organized that spring and summer to reopen trails that USFS planned to keep closed for a decade. Ironically, the Mazamas (who got these trails open) are now forbidden from hiking them during the summer months effective this year. See if I'll be donating my time and energies to helping out USFS ever again.

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Re: Eagle Creek Trail

Post by justpeachy » November 18th, 2019, 6:50 pm

Bosterson wrote:
November 17th, 2019, 5:55 pm
Ditto for Oneonta, which I assume is also high priority (but I don't think they've started working on yet).
Do you mean Oneonta Gorge? I assumed the Forest Service would use the fire as an excuse to keep it closed indefinitely. That place was such an unsafe madhouse pre-fire. I'm sure that little canyon is now full of so many boulders and logs that there's no way they could make it safe anytime soon.

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Bosterson
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Re: Eagle Creek Trail

Post by Bosterson » November 18th, 2019, 7:23 pm

justpeachy wrote:
November 18th, 2019, 6:50 pm
Bosterson wrote:
November 17th, 2019, 5:55 pm
Ditto for Oneonta, which I assume is also high priority (but I don't think they've started working on yet).
Do you mean Oneonta Gorge?
No, I meant the 424 trail. My understanding was it was pretty obliterated lower down, but it's extremely desirable, everyone wants to go to Triple Falls, etc, so presumably they will turn to it once Eagle Creek is done, even though there are other trails that could be fixed more permanently first. I do not expect those hard hit canyon trails to keep stable for a while yet; from what I've seen out there, there's not much holding those hillsides together.
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Re: Eagle Creek Trail

Post by kepPNW » November 19th, 2019, 5:58 am

Bosterson wrote:
November 18th, 2019, 7:23 pm
No, I meant the 424 trail. My understanding was it was pretty obliterated lower down, but it's extremely desirable, everyone wants to go to Triple Falls, etc, so presumably they will turn to it once Eagle Creek is done, even though there are other trails that could be fixed more permanently first. I do not expect those hard hit canyon trails to keep stable for a while yet; from what I've seen out there, there's not much holding those hillsides together.
That one's the outlet for so others that seem to be ready for business but still closed... Probably only reason Franklin Ridge and Bell Creek aren't legal options yet, huh? Would be nice if they got it going, but sure seemed like a long ways off given the damage descriptions. :(
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drm
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Re: Eagle Creek Trail

Post by drm » November 19th, 2019, 7:23 am

BigBear wrote:
November 18th, 2019, 9:20 am
Ironically, the Mazamas (who got these trails open) are now forbidden from hiking them during the summer months effective this year.
Can I get an elaboration on this, or a link describing it? I did a search and did not find anything.

I would also guess that if they had any thoughts that it was going to take years for the trail to stablize enough to reopen that they would not have installed those bridges this year. That's a big expense to have them sit for years unused and possibly get damaged. As long as the winter is not too bad, I am hoping for an opening some time next year. But it might be later in the season if there is more work to do above that the bridges make easier to access. I can only imagine what that first weekend will be like. I'll aim for a week day for my first visit if I can. If there is a trail that's not going to open for a long time, it's probably Ruckel Creek.

I have also wondered if the first opening might just be the upper part, maybe accessing Tunnel Falls only from Wahtum. I would figure that part would not have as much damage and that would keep initial crowds down. Then open the lower trailhead later on.

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Re: Eagle Creek Trail

Post by squidvicious » November 19th, 2019, 11:56 am

drm wrote:
November 19th, 2019, 7:23 am
BigBear wrote:
November 18th, 2019, 9:20 am
Ironically, the Mazamas (who got these trails open) are now forbidden from hiking them during the summer months effective this year.
Can I get an elaboration on this, or a link describing it? I did a search and did not find anything.
I assume that's referring to this: viewtopic.php?f=14&t=28124&hilit=gorge+ ... es#p208050

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