CASCADE LOCKS -- Cyclists will soon have a new recreation option after a missing link in the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail opens west of Cascade Locks. The section will be fully useable after Oct. 31.
Scot Sullenger, who owns the Cascade Motel in Cascade Locks, thinks it could be a perfect weekend outing for Portlanders. In fact, he plans to do it in reverse himself.
This is how it will work. For the first time since the construction of Interstate 84 in the 1960s, there will be an alternative route between Troutdale and Cascade Locks without the need for using any part of the freeway.
The old scenic Columbia River Highway, which was fully open by 1922, was partially destroyed or abandoned as I-84 was built. The Sept. 14 dedication of the new 1.6-mile McCord Creek replaced one of the lost sections.
The $8.1 million project has brought a bicycle/pedestrian path to the previously missing section: between John B. Yeon State Scenic Corridor on the west and the Bonneville Dam exit to the east.
The distance is 34 miles, with a climb over 733-foot high Crown Point. Cyclists will need to share part of the old highway with vehicles (an average for 2,200 per day), but won't need to ride on I-84 where 21,000 are counted daily.
In addition to the Cascade Motel, other lodging opportunities in Cascade Locks include the Best Western Columbia River Inn, Bridge of the Gods Motel and Columbia Gorge Inn.
The project will open the final link in a scenic bike ride from Troutdale to Cascade Locks on 26 miles of the Columbia River Historic Highway and 6.5 miles of shared use path on the State Trail. Ultimately, the trail will extend to Hood River, although the design and funding sources are still under study for construction of the trail in the Mitchell Point area.
The new 1.6-mile trail segment includes: