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Stability work to prevent trail collapse will close route to top of Multnomah Falls for about a month

PMG FILE PHOTO - Benson Bridge will be occasionally closed as repair work is completed along Larch Mountain Trail. Visitors to Multnomah Falls will not be able to hike up to the top of the iconic waterfall for the next few weeks as critical repair work takes place to prevent the route from collapsing.

Crews will begin repairing a section of Larch Mountain Trail No. 441, near Multnomah Falls, Monday, Sept. 20, for a project anticipated to take 4-5 weeks. During the work the section of trail beyond Benson Bridge will be closed to public access. There will also be intermittent closures of the entire trail, including Benson Bridge, while contractors move equipment and supplies.

"This work is necessary to stabilize a failing section of trail that will create a significant public safety and environmental threat if not completed," said Donna Mickley, forest supervisor for the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. "We thank everyone for their understanding and support while we perform the necessary repairs."

Throughout the work the Historic Lodge, including the restaurant and gift shop, will remain open.

The emergency repairs are needed because of tension cracks that have developed along about 100 feet of Larch Mountain Trail. That is causing slope instability and the potential for the trail to collapse. The damage was most likely caused by the Eagle Creek Fire in 2017. The fire likely burned away vegetation that led to increased ground water flow through the rock mass upon which the trail was built. This summer's high temperatures didn't help either.

Larch Mountain trail was constructed more than 100 years ago after the completion of Benson Bridge in 1915, and is an integral feature to the Multnomah Falls experience.

Visitors are encouraged to call the Multnomah Falls Visitor Information Center at 503-695-2372 to check the status of the viewing platform and bridge before purchasing tickets.

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