Landslide danger closes portions of trails in Columbia River Gorge

KPTV photo.

COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE, OR (KPTV) – Portions of trails in the Columbia River Gorge are closed due to landslide and rockfall danger.

At Multnomah Falls, the Benson Bridge is as far as people can go to check out its beauty as the rest of the trail is closed right now.

The U.S. Forest Service says a rockfall that trapped several hikers last week came from an overhanging boulder that could fall at any moment.

A geologist this week surveyed the area and the U.S. Forest Service will be working to scale back the rock before it can reopen the rest of the trail.

The upper portion of Wahkeena Falls is also closed due to safety concerns.

On Friday, there was no shortage of folks at Multnomah Falls who were catching a glimpse of the crown jewel of the Gorge.

“It's definitely breathtaking,” Ashlynn Castillo said. “You get up here and you don't realize how powerful the water is and you get up there and it's just, you can feel the water coming on you and it's just kind of like an in awe feeling.”

People visiting the falls Friday night understood the dangers and why some portions of the trails are closed currently.

“You got to think about people's safety and how hazardous the trails are after a fire like that things aren't stable,” Jay Dooyen said.

The U.S. Forest Service says there are many areas in the Gorge that are unstable right now in the aftermath of the Eagle Creek fire, as dead trees start to rot in the soil.

A spokesperson tells FOX 12 we could see these effects for years to come.

But the U.S. Forest Service says it’s unclear if these most recent slides near the falls are a direct correction to the Eagle Creek fire.

So, what should you do if you’re going out hiking this weekend or in the near future?

The U.S. Forest Service says be prepared with food, water, enough layers and a flashlight that isn’t your phone so it doesn’t run down the battery.

The U.S. Forest says high winds and heavy rain are main factors in slides but they could happen at any time. It advises people to avoid hiking during those conditions.

At this point, there’s no timelines on when the rest of the trail will reopen at Multnomah Falls.

Copyright 2019 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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