The western side the Mt. Hood National Forest suffered extensive and severe damage as a result of the historic Labor Day windstorm that brought down tens of thousands of trees and fueled wildfires across the Cascades.
After weeks of work, most trails outside of wilderness on Zigzag Ranger District have been cleared of fallen logs, but visitors should continue to be aware of existing hazards such as fallen trees, hanging branches, loose rocks, and unstable slopes.
Numerous trails in the Mt. Hood Wilderness remain blocked or damaged.
All Mt. Hood National Forest campgrounds are closed for the season.
The Timberline Trail and Pacific Crest Trail were hit particularly hard by the windstorm, with thousands of trees still down on the trails. Wilderness trails require that crews use crosscut saws and other non-mechanized tools to preserve the wilderness character but are slower than power tools such as chainsaws.
“Forest Service crews, joined by our partners, Pacific Crest Trail Association and Trailkeepers of Oregon, have been working tirelessly to clear trails,” said Zigzag District Ranger Bill Westbrook. “However, we only have a few more weeks before winter weather ends the work season, so many areas will not be cleared until late spring or summer of 2021.”
Some recreation areas are open to hikers as well as and other non-motorized use, but are gated and remain closed to vehicles; this includes Trillium Lake and Old Maid Flat. If there is no safe and legal parking available, visitors should visit an alternate location.
Visitors should use extreme caution when out on the forest, including looking up into the tree-cover above and the forest floor for unusual obstacles and hazards, and should check weather reports to confirm safe conditions.
Special care should be taken at stream crossings in case railings or trail bridges suffer damage from fall and winter storms.
While driving on forest roads, beware of fallen trees and other debris, and branches extending over the roadway.
Portions of the Barlow Ranger District south of The Dalles are closed to all access due to unsafe conditions following the White River Fire.
Part of Forest Road 48 was damaged in the fire, and repair work is ongoing and could extend into the spring, according to the Forest Service website. This section will be closed until work is complete.
A full list of recreation site closures can be found at www.fs.usda.gov/recmain/mthood/recreation#conditions.