Work to repair a section of Larch Mountain Trail #441 near Multnomah Falls will begin September 20 and is anticipated to take 4-5 weeks. During this time, the section of trail beyond Benson Bridge will be closed to public access. There will also be intermittent closures of the entire trail, including Benson Bridge, while contractors mobilize equipment and supplies. The Historic Lodge, including the restaurant and gift shop, will remain open during construction.
This emergency trail repair is needed because tension cracks have developed along approximately 100 feet of the Larch Mountain Trail just beyond Benson Bridge, leading to slope instability and the potential for failure.
Prior to the Eagle Creek Fire in 2017, this section of trail did not show any signs of failure. The current instability is likely the result of post-fire effects including significant changes in vegetation leading to increased ground water flow through the rock mass on which the trail was built. Increased groundwater flow and extreme temperature events have led to cracking within the rock mass supporting the trail.
“This work is necessary to stabilize a failing section of trail that will create a significant public safety and environmental threat if not completed,” said Donna Mickley, Forest Supervisor, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. “We thank everyone for their understanding and support while we perform the necessary repairs.”
Larch Mountain Trail was built more than 100 years ago just after the construction of Benson Bridge in 1915 and is viewed as an integral feature to the Multnomah Falls visitor experience.
Visitors are encouraged to call the Multnomah Falls Visitor Information Center at (503) 695-2372to check the status of the lower viewing platform before heading out.