New Columbia River Gorge trail segment is now open

Allows bike and pedestrian travel off I-84 between Cascade Locks and Troutdale

The new 1.6-mile segment of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail will officially be open to the public Thursday allowing pedestrians and bicyclists to travel between Troutdale and Cascade Locks without using Interstate 84.

The new trail segment, which was dedicated in September, is complete except for minor detail work, including landscaping.

The $8.1 million project is the final link in a 34-mile scenic bike ride from Troutdale to Cascade Locks on 26 miles of the Columbia River Historic Highway and 6.5 miles of shared use path on the State Trail. Ultimately, the trail will extend to Hood River although the design and funding sources are still under study.

The new 1.6-mile trail segment includes:

n A new 12-foot wide paved path accessible to pedestrians, bicyclists, hikers and people using wheelchairs

n A distinctive new 76-foot long, 16-foot wide bridge over McCord Creek reflecting the craftsmanship of the original highway design

n A new picnic and rest area with restored views of Beacon Rock

n A link with U.S. Forest Service Trail 400 connecting to Elowah Falls

In 1987, the Legislature set in motion the restoration of the Historic Columbia River Highway, which was completed in 1922 as America’s first scenic highway. By the 1950s, many sections of the road had been abandoned or demolished for what eventually became Interstate 84.

ODOT has been working on the project with Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, the State Historic Preservation Office, the U.S. Forest Service, the Federal Highway Administration, the Friends of the Historic Columbia River Highway, Travel Oregon, and the Historic Columbia River Highway Advisory Committee to restore and reconnect the highway.

With the new segment, 62 of the original 73 miles of Historic Highway linking Troutdale with The Dalles are open to motor vehicles or to bikes and pedestrians.

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