Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail

Park History

The Historic Columbia River Highway was designed by Samuel Lancaster and constructed between 1913 to 1922. Its purpose was not merely to provide an east-west transportation route through the Columbia River Gorge, but to take full advantage of every natural aspect, scenic feature, waterfall, viewpoint and panorama. When bridges or tunnels were designed, they stood by themselves as artistic compliments to the landscape. The Columbia River Highway served millions of travelers and became one of the grandest highways in the nation. When transportation needs required faster and larger roads, sections of the old highway were bypassed. By 1960, a new interstate highway had replaced nearly all of the older road. The 4.5 mile stretch of old highway between Hood River and Mosier, including the Mosier Twin Tunnels, was closed, filled with rock and abandoned. In the 1980s, new interest in the old scenic highway began to resurface. Lost sections of highway were identified, unearthed and studied for potential renovation. Some portions of the original route were covered by I-84 when it was built. An ambitious restoration began with the removal of rock from the Mosier Twin Tunnels. Restoration took several months. When workers were done, several surprises were unearthed, such as historical graffiti dating back to 1921 (when drivers were snowbound for several days). The highway is owned and maintained by ODOT; the state trail is managed by the Parks and Recreation Department. In 2000, the highway was designated a National Historic Landmark, and in 2002, the state trail was designated a National Recreation Trail.

Acreage: 259.9

Annual day-use attendance: 278,426


Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail FAQ

What's Allowed

Can I fly my drone in the park?

Please call 503-695-2261 for park specific rules

Can I metal detect?

No metal detecting is allowed in Gorge State Parks

Animals

Can I have my pet off leash?

Curently we do not have a designated off leash pet area. Pets are required to be on a 6' leash and in control at all times. This includes all parking lots and sections of the state trail.

Day use/Special Events

How do I get a Special Use Permit?

This park requires a Special Use Permit for special events or activities. Please open the Special Use Permit application to see examples of events that need a permit.  If you have questions about whether you need a special use permit for your activity and to receive instructions on how to submit the application, please call 503-695-2261.


Statewide FAQ

Available via this link