Newest section of the Historic Columbia River Highway & State Trail set to open Oct. 8

A cyclist along the state trail near Rowena. (ODOT)

You can’t ask more than this from a cycling trail: a new surface to ride on, a 5 percent grade and access to three waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge that you've never seen or heard about before.

That describes the latest 1.2 mile section of the new trail along the Historic Columbia River Highway & State Trail between Starvation Creek and Lindsey Creek, about 54 miles east of Portland.

Kristen Stallman, the Gorge projects coordinator for the Oregon Department of Transportation, says the project has been 30 years in the making.

“Today, the Historic Columbia River Highway extends from Troutdale to The Dalles approximately 73 miles, but there’s these sections that are disconnected. So we are working to reconnect those with a trail,” Stallman said.

Stallman said the highway – built between 1913 and 1922 – was “laid lightly on the land and it brought the users to the beauty spots along the way.”

“When it was built it was one of the first roads built specifically for automobiles,” she said. “It was designed for the old Model Ts and the design standard the grades did not exceed 5 percent which is awesome for a bicycle today.”

Stallman said 63 miles of the 73-mile highway is now open to travelers either by car, on foot or by bicycle. The newest section has an added bonus: access to three waterfalls.

“This opens up access to Cabin Creek Falls, Hole in the Wall Falls and has a great view of Lancaster Falls on Wonder Creek,” Stallman said.

The trail – which was dedicated last weekend -- opens to the public on Saturday, Oct. 8.

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