Travels with the Original Easyrider®
2011 Edition

Ride to the Bridge of the Gods, Cascade Locks, Oregon
And various hikes from several trailheads located in or near
the Mark O. Hatfield Wildreness area.

All rights reserved - may not be copied without permission

In 2010 I fully documented a ride to the town of Cascade Locks, Oregon HERE

Since I was here again today, click HERE for more pictures of
Cascade Locks, Marine Park and Thunder Island.

If you want to go to Dry Creek Falls, click HERE

There are a great many hikes that start or pass through here including the
Mexico to Canada Pacific Crest Trail. I'll keep adding hike trail info and
logs to this page so check back from time to time.

The Historic Columbia River Highway Trail
Cascade Locks to the Eagle Creek Overlook
January 19, 2011

This is the easiest hike of my Cascade Locks series. Seven miles round trip,
paved roadway, very little elevation gain. Pretty much impossible to get lost
and a hike/stroll that can be done most any time of the year with a very easy
to get to trailhead.

My biggest complaint with most of these trail guides, including the revered Sullivan
book is that while they often contain interesting pictures and narratives, more often
than not, information on how to actually get to the starting point is either vague
or in some cases downright wrong! I seek to remedy that situation for novice Hikers
such as myself. These great hikes aren't very valuable if you can't find them, right?

In this particular case, unless noted otherwise, all hikes begin under the Bridge of
the Gods, I-84 exit 44, Cascade Locks, Oregon. There is ample parking here. Note that
in some areas, such as Eagle Creek, a Federal use pass is required.

The Historic Columbia River Highway Trail starts at this trailhead sign and heads West.
Do not walk up the I-84 entrance ramp (duh..). The road to the right is the road
to nowhere.

ABOVE RIGHT: A view of the town of Cascade Locks facing East from the trailhead.
BELOW: If you head down this trail for about a mile you will come to a tunnel that
goes under I-84. Many trail guides do this hike as a loop so I will provide that
information as well, since the loop route is also the way to get to many of the other
area hikes. But if you want a nice, easy hike to Eagle Creek, the paved old
highway is the way you want to go.

Drop down to the next segment if you want to stay on the highway.

Here's the way to the "loop" trailhead and the access to the many other trails
into the Mark O. Hatfield Wildreness...

From the Bridge of the Gods trailhead parking lot, cross the street and head
towards the bridge entrance and toll booth. There's a gazillion signs pointing the way.

I didn't see this in any of the trail guides I looked at, but the official
name of this loop trail is the "Gorge Trail 400". It almost immediately goes
under I-84. You are then presented with numerous, confusing trail choices.

The first choice, a gravel road marked the Pacific Crest Trail and going uphill
is fairly obvious. A few feet up the road, there is a trail entrance to the left
marked Gorge Trail 400, among other things. This is the correct way if you are
headed into the wilderness but it is NOT the correct way for this hike!

Turn right (or about-face if you are looking at this sign) instead. This trail and
trail marker is oriented in a way that you might not see it if you aren't looking for
it. This trail runs VERY close to the Interstate. If you don't immediately come up on
the highway, you went the wrong way. Note that I turned around to take this picture
of I-84. The Interstate will be on your right, not your left as shown in this shot.

If you want to go to Dry Creek Falls, you want to head the other (PCT South) way.

I ran into quite a lot of blow-down on this trail. This particular one obliterated
the trail and was not so easy to climb over.

You come up on a very nice viewpoint which makes taking this loop worthwhile.

After a little more than a mile of hiking, you run into the Historic Columbia
River Highway State Trail that you would have been on if you had gone down the paved
road at the first trailhead. Turn right here to head back to the Bridge of the Gods
and complete a nice, easy 2 1/2 mile loop hike.

For today's hike, we'll turn left (West) and continue on to Eagle Creek.
This trail has seen a lot of restoration work. I don't know how much of this road
is original and how much has been rebuilt. At only around 17' wide, it's hard to
believe that this road was once an ultra-modern, major thoroughfare.

There's this sign for Sheridan State Park but nothing else here that I could see.

Ruckel Creek was roaring. I didn't follow that trail but it would probably
make for an interesting side-hike another day.

You can take the Gorge Trail 400 side path to Eagle Creek which is not terribly
interesting, or continue along on the paved trail. The trail was "closed" due to a
rock slide when I was here but those who know me know that unless there is an armed
Cop standing guard I tend to ignore signs like this one. With all respect to whoever
closed the trail, trying to cross the street in downtown Portland is waaaaaay more
hazardous than getting past that tiny slide.

You come up on the Cascade Fish Hatchery which offers self guided tours.

Going straight ahead and parallel to I-84, it's a very short walk to the Eagle
Creek Overlook. This was probably a major visitor location ala The Vista House back
in the early 1900's when the Historic Columbia River Highway flourished.

There's Bradford Island and the power generation plant at Bonneville Dam.
And the shipping lock. Beacon Rock off in the distance.

There are a great many picnic tables and camp sites here as well as several boarded
up buildings like this one. Didn't see any evidence of vandalism which surprised me
considering how remote and deserted this area is.

Since I-84 replaced the old Historic Columbia River Highway, you are never far
from the Interstate.

Head back to Cascade Locks on the same trail you took to get here. I went into
Eagle Creek and took the trail from there back to the Columbia River Highway Trail
but I have to say that it was not very interesting.

There are a few hikes and trails that start at the Eagle Creek Recreation area
(National Parks Pass required!). I didn't explore any of them this day but here are
a few trailhead pictures.

This would be the trailhead for hikes such as Tanner Creek, Wahtum Lake and the
Wauna Viewpoint.

Back at the Cascade Locks Trailhead


Since I was here today anyway, click HERE for more pictures of
Cascade Locks, Marine Park and Thunder Island.

  Cannon Beach storm watching

                                                  Ride to Glenwood, Washington  


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