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Difference between revisions of "Mosier Twin Tunnels Hike"

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

m (Elevation_Gain)
m (Difficulty)
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{{Distance|1.4 miles}} round trip
{{Distance|1.4 miles}} round trip
{{Elevation gain|160 feet}}
{{Elevation gain|160 feet}}
* Difficulty: Easy
* Seasons: Year round
* Seasons: Year round
* Family Friendly: Yes
* Family Friendly: Yes

Revision as of 04:34, 23 March 2007

East portal of the west tunnel
Eighteen Mile Island
Insert map image here


Hike Description

When the original Columbia River Highway was built through this area in 1921, it was necessary to build two tunnels to get through a high rock point. The tunnels and the nearby cliffs were always a trouble spot on the CRH. Rockfalls were common and accidents happened all too frequently. In 1954, a new road was opened near water level and the tunnels were abandoned. They were soon filled with rock rubble and forgotten. A trip to the west portal in the early 90s found the road near the tunnels completely buried in fallen rock with trees growing in the roadway. Only a quarter of a damaged tunnel portal was visible. In 1995, work was begun to reopen the tunnels for tourist use. This involved the removal of the rubble, and rebuilding and resurfacing the road. The area opened to tourist use in 2000.

Today, the old highway is known as the Historic Columbia River Highway Trail, often abbreviated HCRHT. It has been completely restored with a new surface, new or rebuilt walls and completely cleared tunnels. From the parking area, the path begins along the shoulder of Rock Creek Road down the hill about 2/10 of a mile to the junction with the old road. Walk through the gate and on to the old highway. The first part of the hike is through a large rock field spotted with pine trees.

After a bit the trail comes to the edge of the Gorge and turns west. Here, you'll walk passed stone guardrails and you'll look down on Eighteen Mile Island. About a half mile from Rock Creek Road, there's a new stone walled lookout over the Columbia River. Just passed the lookout is the east portal of the east tunnel.

Walking through the tunnels is a neat experience. You'll find milepost 72 inside the tunnel as well as carved graffiti from 1921, detailing the names of people that were trapped in the tunnel by a snowstorm. There are side passages leading to windows known as adits. There's a restored walkway outside the second adit, but it's been fenced off, preventing access. West of the tunnels is a 700 foot long catchment structure designed to catch rocks falling from above. Beyond the tunnels, the trail continues another 4 miles to the Mark Hatfield West Trailhead, near Hood River. Or, you can return the way you came.


Regulations or restrictions, etc

$3.00 daily state park pass required at the trailhead

Trip Reports

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Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • 60 Hikes within 60 Miles of Portland by Paul Gerald - 2nd Edition

More Links


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.