For many folks, often including myself, winter is just not a time we go hiking around Portland. Some folks ski or snowboard, some snowshoe, some stick in town for walks, ride bikes, maybe paddle. Or they just don’t go out there at all.
This winter, I have made a real effort to get out there more often. But when hiking around Portland in the winter, how do we manage the weather, the roads, and the conditions? When do we hike, when do we snowshoe? How to even approach such a decision?
I don’t have anything impressive or important to add here. I just slipped through a somewhat rare dry-day-in-January window to get out to a waterfall haven called Silver Falls State Park. It had rained a lot the day before, so the show was particularly great. Here’s a bunch of photos and videos.
I got a chance on New Year’s Day 2021 to go and hike some of the Eagle Creek Trail in the Columbia River Gorge for the first time since the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire.
The trail reopened around December 31, 2020, and the highway exit on the following day. All of that can change any time, because especially after the fire, landslides will be more common in the area. That’s why the exit was closed, and Eagle Creek Canyon will be even more prone to slides than usual for quite a while.
Update: This trail did, in fact, close again in early January because of landslides. Check with the Columbia Gorge NSA for the latest.
Lost. Scorched. Torn through. Destroyed. Devastated.
Think about those words along with something you love. Let them sink in, notice the feelings that come up.
Now try these on:
Damaged. Changed. Evolving. Resilient.
I went out and tried to hike some of the Oregon Coast Trail on September 21, 2020, and it is a total mess. There was no fire here, but I assume that what I saw was the result of winds around Labor Day.
Near as I can tell, you really can’t hike from Arch Cape to at least Cape Falcon right now, and in fact some of that trail is officially closed. Continue reading “September, 2020: The Oregon Coast Trail South of Arch Cape is a Windblown Mess (And Some of it is Closed)”
Here is an ongoing attempt to evaluate which hiking trails and campsites are within areas affected by wildfires in Oregon and southwest Washington in 2020.
This is not an official or complete list, just one person’s attempt to track it all. I don’t have access to any more information than what’s publicly available.
MAJOR, CRITICAL DISCLAIMER: Just because a spot is within the area affected by a fire, it has not necessarily been burned to the ground! I cannot overstate the importance of this. Many fires skip around, burn only along the ground, and behave very differently from one area to the next. When the media says a fire is 35,000 acres, that does not necessarily translate into 35,000 acres of total destruction. Places within a burn zone could survive intact, be damaged … or be burned to the ground. We won’t know for a while.
Updated October 5, 2020: The Wind River Road is open again,
- Trails affected in the Clackamas Area (via TrailAdvocate.org)
- Interactive map of fire areas with labeled hiking trails in the Clackamas area (TrailAdvocate)
- Labeled trails in all fire areas, from user aiweitr on OregonHikers.org.