Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail

The Historic Columbia River Highway – America’s first scenic highway – is one of the most significant historic roads in the nation and is internationally praised for its spectacular waterfalls, architectural gems and magnificent views of the Columbia River Gorge.

Since the 1987 Oregon State Legislature identified a strong desire to maintain, enhance and restore the Historic Columbia River Highway (Historic Highway), the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has been charged with working with Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, the State Historic Preservation Office and Travel Oregon to preserve, enhance and reconnect the Historic Columbia River Highway. Much work has been accomplished since that date and 63 of the original 73 miles of the Historic Highway are now open to travel either by motor vehicle (Historic Highway or connecting county roads) or by foot and bicycle (State Trail).

Today with 10 miles left, the Historic Columbia River Highway Advisory Committee and the Friends of the Historic Columbia River Highway have joined together to advocate for the completion of the Historic Highway State Trail. Currently, Western Federal Lands Highway Division (WFLHD) is leading the charge and developing preliminary engineering plans from Wyeth to the west side of Mitchell Point. Construction funding has been acquired and the public will see State Trail system extended in the Gorge over the next few years. Preliminary engineering, permitting and construction plans for the next phases of the project can be seen here.

Travel Oregon has been a long-time partner in the effort to reconnect the Historic Columbia River Highway for the State Trail and will continue our strong support into the future.

The completion of the remaining trail segments will create a “King of Trails” allowing Oregonians and visitors from around the world to have access to many of Oregon’s underdeveloped State Parks, undiscovered waterfalls and remarkable views of the Columbia River. Pedestrians and bicycles will be able to travel the Gorge between Troutdale and The Dalles without ever having to share the shoulder of Interstate-84 with cars and trucks.

Once completed, the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail will become a global pedestrian and cycling destination – bringing Oregonians one step closer to realizing significant economic impacts. Travel Oregon supports the expansion of bicycle tourism in Oregon and has seen the positive economic impacts that it brings to small communities, similar to those located in the Gorge.


About the Video

In August of 2013, 150 local and regional policymakers from Oregon and Washington pedaled from Corbett to Cascade Locks along the Historic Highway and State Trail to get an up-close look at the Gorge’s natural splendor. Video by The Path Less Pedaled.