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The Wahclella Falls Trail in the Columbia River Gorge reopened Monday, nearly two years after the Eagle Creek Fire.

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS: MAX BENBASSAT - Wahclella FallsWahclella Falls Trail, a popular waterfall hike in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, reopened Monday, Aug. 26, for the first time since the Eagle Creek Fire.

The trail was closed the evening of Sept. 4, 2017, two days after the 48,000-acre Eagle Creek Fire ignited. In 2018, a Forest Service trail crew repairing the trail encountered large rocks, some as large as basketballs, falling from the slopes above the hike. By spring of 2019, landslides and rockfall had altered parts of the trail and more work was needed to clear and stabilize the route.

The trail offers a 2.4 mile out-and-back day hike through a slot canyon to a waterfall. The main part of the trail has been cleared and stabilized, but the upper section of the trail's loop remains closed due to a damaged bridge and washouts sustained during and after the fire.

For safety reasons, the U.S. Forest Service cautions hikers to honor closure signs and stay out of closed areas.

Another section of the Gorge 400 Trail, between Eagle Creek Recreation Area and the town of Cascade Locks, also opened today for the first time since the fire. However, nearby Ruckel Creek Trail and the Gorge 400 Trail between Angels Rest and Eagle Creek Recreation Area remain closed.

Many hiking trails in the Columbia River Gorge remain closed because of hazards caused by the fire, which destabilized the landscape when it burned away the vegetation along steep slopes.

Check here to see the status of Forest Service hiking trails in the Gorge.


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