National News

Multnomah Falls Lodge, parking lot reopen after Eagle Creek Fire

Posted November 29, 2017 4:43 p.m. EST

— The parking lot and historic lodge at Multnomah Falls have reopened three months after the Eagle Creek Fire tore through the Columbia River Gorge.

The U.S. Forest Service announced Wednesday morning that the Multnomah Falls Lodge, front plaza and Interstate 84 parking lot had reopened.

The area was evacuated the night of Sept. 4, two days after the Eagle Creek Fire started. The fire burned nearly 49,000 acres.

"The recreation site, managed by the U.S. Forest Service, is one of the most popular natural attractions in Oregon, hosting millions of visitors each year," according to the Forest Service.

Damage to the lodge itself was limited to smoke damage and minor repairs, however measures were needed to protect the facility from falling rocks, trees and other debris.

Visitors must access the lodge through the I-84 parking lot, which is operated by the Oregon Department of Transportation. When parking is full, the gate to the I-84 parking lot will close. Travelers are asked to respect gate closures and use caution on the highway.

Nearby waterfall viewing areas – including the popular lower viewing platform – and the surrounding trail system remain closed until the next round of repairs is completed.

The next phase of reopening focuses on the lower viewing platform of the falls. A contractor must complete hazard tree falling, rock scaling and rebuilding of the upper rock catchment fence before the platform will be considered for public access.

The remainder of the trail to the century-old Benson Bridge and the upper falls area will require further repairs, including the replacement of a small wooden bridge known as Shady Creek Bridge and any additional trail repairs discovered once a full trail assessment has been completed.

Nearby Benson State Recreation Area will also remain closed to protect public safety.

The lodge will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week, except in cases of inclement weather.

The lodge is operated by Multnomah Falls Co. Inc., a concessionaire that runs a restaurant, gift shop and snack bar. The Forest Service owns the lodge building and operates an information center on the ground floor, staffed with support from the Friends of Multnomah Falls.