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Hikers can return to Nesmith Point, Wyeth trails after undoing of 2017 wildfire damage

COURTESY PHOTO: U.S. FOREST SERVICE - Hikers can return to the Nesmith Point, Wyeth Trails thanks to repairs done by wilderness crews. A pair of popular trails were reopened for the first time since the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire scorched the Columbia River Gorge.

Both Nesmith Point and Wyeth trails were announced open to hikers Thursday, Oct. 20, by the U.S. Forest Service thanks to thousands of hours of rehabilitation work by Forest Service trail crews, Northwest Youth Corps, American Conservation Experience and Trailkeepers of Oregon.

Teams had to dig through mudslides, cast aside rockslides and use crosscut saws to remove hundreds of burned and windfallen trees to reestablish the rugged wilderness trails.

The Nesmith Point Trail begins at the John B. Yeon State Park Trailhead and is a favorite for early spring conditioning hikes. Nesmith Point is the highest spot along the cliffs in the gorge and offers a steep climb with switchbacks through a box canyon with views of both Beacon Rock and Mount Adams.

The Wyeth Trail, which begins in its namesake campground, enters the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness and continues within the national scenic area for five miles before crossing the boundary into the Mount Hood National Forest. When combined with other trails it becomes a long backpacking loop and is the eastern terminus of Gorge Trail #400.

The Eagle Creek Fire, infamously sparked by a teenager playing with fireworks, dramatically affected the trails within the gorge. There was widespread loss of trees and numerous landslides. Officials warn, while reopened, that hikers should be wary whenever there is high winds or heavy rains, as there is still a propensity for tree falls and debris slides.

Five trails remain closed while crews work to rebuild or reroute the paths away from hazards.


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