Gorge-bound hikers who already have timed tickets and permits to get to their destination now have another hurdle: construction on Interstate 84.
As of today, exit 41 is closed to the public while the final road project gets underway. This off-ramp leads to Eagle Creek Recreation Area, the forested canyon with a very popular trail that takes you to five named waterfalls, including one you can walk behind. It’s also where the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire started after a Washington teenager launched fireworks into the ravine.
The forest has started to recover and the road officially reopened to hikers in late 2020. But for the next six weeks you will have to find another way to access the trailhead. Not only is exit 41 closed, but the parking lot that most people use to get to Eagle Creek will also be off limits.
Recreation seekers coming from the west should plan to use either the Wahclella Falls or Tooth Rock trailheads, while those coming from the east are advised to get there from the trailheads Cascade Locks, Bridge of the Gods or Pacific Crest Trail Harvey Road.
With the start of this project, the Oregon Department of Transportation has declared that the construction season on I-84 in the gorge is in full swing. The agency is repairing the Toothrock Tunnel and repaving 13 miles of highway between Multnomah Falls and Cascade Locks. Repairing the ruts and cracks along this stretch will lead to a smoother and safer ride for everyone crossing the corridor.
Work is expected to be completed by May 12. But it depends on the weather and the reopening of exit 41 could be postponed. Drivers simply trying to get from point A to point B should also expect nightly single-lane closures and other ramps along the freeway.