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Car permit required for Columbia River Gorge area starting this spring

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Car permit required for Columbia River Gorge area starting this spring

Old 02-28-22, 11:33 AM
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Car permit required for Columbia River Gorge area starting this spring

I was about to blow a gasket after reading this article, thinking that bicycles would have to get a permit to ride on Hwy 30 along the Columbia River Gorge waterfall area. Turns out bicycles are exempted.

Good news for cyclists, the Multnomah Falls area has turned into Disneyland North with cars backed up in both directions. On the last day of the Magical Mystery Tour of the PNW we were headed west from Cascade Locks and found cars backed up over a mile coming into Multnomah Falls from the east. We just pulled into the eastbound lane, when the occassional car was seen coming the other way we pulled over to let them through. Hopefully this will eliminate the parking lot that Oregon Hwy 30 turns into in this area.

The Gorge is a regular ride out of Portland. Since it's an out and back ride it's easy to trim or extend the ride to meet your mileage needs. For those wanting to avoid the junk miles riding through Portland to the start of the Historic Columbia River Highway the traditional start is to drive out to the area around the Sandy River Bridge where several parking sites are located. Most cars usually take I84 and park in the lot for Multnomah Falls, so car traffic is typically light.

Enticing pix:


View from Women's Forum - non-locals stop to take pix at Vista House, a mile down the road, and seen in the background. Similarties to the Hudson River School quickly come to mind


Horsetail Falls - right off of the highway, one of the underrated falls on the Gorge


The ride "just flows" through much of the Gorge area.


Magical Mystery Tourists stop for a group pic at Vista House
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Old 02-28-22, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post

Horsetail Falls - right off of the highway, one of the underrated falls on the Gorge
You missed the upper Horsetail Falls, which to me is a much more unique waterfall, and well worth the short hike.

But, that is a good point. Multnomah Falls gets all the traffic, and the smaller waterfalls are largely ignored.

How is the bike path from Cascade Locks to Multnomah Falls?

How many tunnels?
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Old 02-28-22, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
You missed the upper Horsetail Falls, which to me is a much more unique waterfall, and well worth the short hike.

But, that is a good point. Multnomah Falls gets all the traffic, and the smaller waterfalls are largely ignored.

How is the bike path from Cascade Locks to Multnomah Falls?

How many tunnels?
Oh, there's a ton of sites I missed, not trying to be encyclopedic. I'll let others post their favorite Gorge pix. There's also the Larch Mountain option.

Bike path from Cascades Locks to Multnomah Falls is covered in the Magical Mystery Tour of the PNW I posted earlier.

I think there are two tunnels, but they're further out past Cascade Locks.
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Old 02-28-22, 12:58 PM
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I hope one of the "details to be ironed out" is limiting numbers of permits on any given day so that traffic volumes actually shrink

While I've only ridden the route once (my grail bike's maiden voyage), I definitely noticed the heavy traffic along the route; never worried too much because the speeds were slow, so that's one benefit to traffic! But the scenery is what sticks in my mind:



















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Old 02-28-22, 01:29 PM
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beautiful place! just watched a video here
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Old 02-28-22, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
beautiful place! just watched a video here
And best of all, that "11 more miles of trail to be completed" has indeed been completed.
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Old 02-28-22, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Drillium Dude View Post
I hope one of the "details to be ironed out" is limiting numbers of permits on any given day so that traffic volumes actually shrink
Not only that, but there's a window of 1 hour for each permit to allow entry. That spreads the traffic out through the day. Kind of like those freeway ramp meters during rush hour that pulse entrants onto the freeway that work so well.
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Old 02-28-22, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post

Not only that, but there's a window of 1 hour for each permit to allow entry...
Yeah, but then there's this: “They can come within the hour, and stay as long as they’d like in the area.

That's the line that made me think they might not be thinking this all the way through. You know I spent a long time in the PNW, and in recent years there's been an awful lot of policy put into place without due diligence paid to unintended consequences. In this case, it seems at the end of any given day there will still be congestion as people make their various ways out. Of course, time will tell; I actually hope this helps. Traffic sux, especially when you're trying to enjoy the scenery.

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Old 02-28-22, 02:07 PM
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Is nice scenery. I have been up the Columbia once to the Dechutes River, then to Bend Oregon. Was on a train pulled by a steam locomotive. My son's 6th birthday present.
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Old 02-28-22, 02:29 PM
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I drove my 1968 Camaro thru there in 1980 or 1984, late in the day because my relative wasn't home in Portland. Half way it got dark, so I slept in the car. LOL. A couple days later I was in Wilbur WA, the last time I saw a billion stars in the sky.
Then my bike tour in 2018, I left Aloha and went to Troutdale for the night. Next day I just rode the freeway to Hood River for 2 nights to see the museum and the river kite surfing circus. LOL. Next day I got off the freeway at Mosier to Rowena. Turned out not too bad a climb with my 120 lbs. For sure it's easier going east bound. I ended up in Biggs that night. Should have stayed in The Dalles and rode around that nice town.








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Old 02-28-22, 02:46 PM
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It's good news for sure, but I was hoping it would start clear back at Troutdale. The segment from Troutdale to Vista House has much higher bike usage than beyond Vista house; I ride to Vista House probably 20 times for each time I go on towards Cascade Locks.

Granted their intention is to reduce car congestion, not make life better for cyclists.

Re: the beautiful pics. I'm from Indiana; I live in a frickin' postcard now. Evan a hazy overcast view is spectacular.

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Old 02-28-22, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Drillium Dude View Post
Yeah, but then there's this: “They can come within the hour, and stay as long as they’d like in the area.

That's the line that made me think they might not be thinking this all the way through. You know I spent a long time in the PNW, and in recent years there's been an awful lot of policy put into place without due diligence paid to unintended consequences. In this case, it seems at the end of any given day there will still be congestion as people make their various ways out. Of course, time will tell; I actually hope this helps. Traffic sux, especially when you're trying to enjoy the scenery.

DD
Every time I've ridden out there the traffic didn't affect my cycling up to the west side of Multnomah Falls. The one time traffic was an issue was on the Magical Mystery Tour, which I already noted, and even then it was a mile of cars, easily ridden around - and that was on the 4th of July, probably the height of the season.

I wouldn't drive a car out there ever again, however, too damn many people. Rode out once in February a few years ago with @Andy_K and @SquireBlack, it was cold and foggy and still crowded with cars parked everywhere. On a bike? Eazy Peazy.

Think about the “They can come within the hour, and stay as long as they’d like in the area.” They're doing that now anyways. Portlandia folk know the best time to ride out is early morning, between Troutdale and Multnomah Falls I've never dealt with much traffic regardless of the time I started. The vast majority of the people going to the Falls drive out on I-84 and take the Multnomah Falls exit where there's a parking lot (always full) or around the falls (always full). Riding through this jungle is like city riding, you slow down, take your time, and soon you're on the other side spinning away.

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Old 02-28-22, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post

Every time I've ridden out there the traffic didn't affect my cycling....
Agreed 100%. My comments are only directed at whether or not the permits will have the desired effect of reducing vehicular traffic in any meaningful way. In any case, once off the roadway and onto the trail proper, cars cease to be an issue when one is on a bike.

Btw, now that the new 11 mile section is complete, is the old stairway now redundant? You know, this one:





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Old 02-28-22, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Drillium Dude View Post
Btw, now that the new 11 mile section is complete, is the old stairway now redundant? You know, this one:



DD
Nope, that's still there. The new 11 miles is further east. I rarely go that far out, maybe 3-4 times total in 8 years. One of them was with @northbend, we rode out from Troutdale just past those stairs so he could have the experience of dismounting and portaging the bike. Here's a pic from the 2016 BQ un-meeting that was headquartered out of Carson, WA. We all had full camping gear, man that was a tough climb!




There's some controversy over the stair section, obviously many disabled people can't use it. You can find details online.
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Old 02-28-22, 04:52 PM
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^ I'd imagine many electric bike users would be put off trying to climb that with their 50lb+ lumps, too!

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Old 02-28-22, 04:56 PM
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Well, I sure hope this reduces the traffic congestion heading to those antifa rallies.
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Old 02-28-22, 06:19 PM
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Here is the recommendation that I would suggest:

CHARGE A $7 TOLL PER VEHICLE up to 3999 pounds in total vehicle weight
CHARGE A $15 TOLL PER VEHICLE (that weighs between 4000 pounds and 4999 pounds in total vehicle weight)
CHARGE A $ 25 TOLL PER VEHICLE (that weighs 5000 pounds or more)
CHARGE A $ 1 TOLL PER BICYCLE
CHARGE A $ 5 TOLL PER MOTORCYCLE

I would allow state residents (legal residents of the state of Oregon) to apply for a Bicycle Permit that is non-transferable, good only to the issued resident, good for a period of 3 years for a total fee of $15........it would be good for unlimited use, every day for 36 months(3 years) until expiration date, when it could be renewed again for three years for $15 or the then future prevailing rate assuming possible inflation etc.......but lets say the 3 year pass Bicycle Permit for Legal residents of Oregon would remain $15 at least until 2029 before any price increase. YOU WOULD HAVE TO PRESENT THE CURRENT bicycle permit and Proper Identification credentials UPON EACH ACCESS TO THE AREA or you'd be required to pay the $1 daily toll charge per bicycle for failing to produce the proper permit and ID credentials as required. There would be NO Exceptions. You must be 18 years or older and a legal resident of the state of Oregon to apply for the 3 year use, $15 permit for bicycle use. Minors accompanied by a parent or adult guardian can enter on bicycle at NO CHARGE if that parent/adult guardian already has the valid 3 year use $15 permit for bicycle use in his/her name as an Oregon resident. Should they not already possess the valid 3 year use $15 permit, then the $1 daily toll charge for bicycle use would apply to everyone aged 12 and older, minors younger than 12 would be exempt from the $1 daily toll if accompanied by a parent or adult guardian.

This would be fair and equitable and more importantly it should assist in the costs associated with park maintenance and security of the visitor guests.
I would also prohibit vehicles (e.g. large trucks, etc) that exceed a certain weight and certain overall length & number of axles, etc.
Certainly, normal state & federal vehicles that would be essential for park operations would be permitted as necessary but otherwise no admittance of such vehicles beyond a certain size and weight. I would institute a significant hefty TOLL charge on the largest category of vehicles that are normally allowed through to discourage them and encourage such vehicles to take a route that does not go through the park at all. You have to consider that the weight of even such heavy SUV's (approx 4500 pounds) does inflict more wear and tear damage to the asphalt than for example a mazda miata, toyota yaris or a kia soul does.
I would go even farther and authorize Park-Toll gate rangers to charge an enviromental fee of $5 in addtion to the applicable vehicle Toll for all motor vehicles(automobiles,vans, pickup trucks, jeeps, suvs....excluding motorcycles and scooters) manufactured before the 1975 model year. Any vehicle that exhibits smoking from the tailpipe(blue or black smoke...such as oil burning or auto trans fluid smoke) would not be allowed to proceed. Any vehicle violating a noise ordinance, such as no muffler or ineffective muffler or excessive volume from sound system could be prohibited from or subject to $400 fine and being impounded and towed if failure to comply.
Littering would be $1200 fine.
Speeding would be a minimum of a $600 fine. I would also designate the area roads within the park ,A HANDS FREE ZONE, meaning that anyone driving a motor vehicle that is caught driving while holding or otherwise cradling a cell phone device would be subject to a $600 fine. I would also designate the park roads to have an "OPEN CONTAINER LAW", meaning that it would be against the law to have any open alcoholic beverage container in the automobile while it is on the roads there, it would make zero difference if the driver was not consuming. Violation of the Open Container Law would result in a $600 fine.
Any persons found to be racing in motor vehicles within the area (speeding...) would receive a minimum of a $2000 fine.

Unfortunately, there are always some knuckleheads that need some type of strong incentive to act accordingly and take care of the area and its community of visitor guests.
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Old 02-28-22, 07:02 PM
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@Vintage Schwinn, can you elaborate?
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Old 02-28-22, 07:17 PM
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I rode this route last Summer from East Portland to the locks and back. A highly scenic and worthwhile ride and that bike path part was a treat. The congested parts were limited to around the falls parking lots. The only parts I felt uncomfortable were a couple places climbing westbound back up to the vista point where the shear drops to the right without any guard rail had me riding the center of the lane. I’m used to asserting my right to the lane, but also see the sense in throttling traffic to attractions such as happening here. It would benefit the car-bound tourists too.
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Old 02-28-22, 10:16 PM
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Car permits required? It's a-frigging-bout time!

Scott Peterson
Newport OR
...where we need to institute car permits for Hwy 101!
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Old 02-28-22, 11:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Drillium Dude View Post
^ I'd imagine many electric bike users would be put off trying to climb that with their 50lb+ lumps, too!

DD
Well, there are plans afoot to build a rideable bypass around the stairs. It would help my recumbent trike riding friends to ride the entire path from Cascade Locks going west. They're somewhat stymied when they get to the stairs, and it can take two or three people to portage the trike up or down. If you're got a group of riders it's OK (just a bunch of trips up and down) but if you're solo... no go.

The bypass would hug the cliff above the Eagle Creek Fish Hatchery and allow riding without dismounting. Because of the difficulty of construction, it's going to cost a couple million at least.
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Old 02-28-22, 11:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Drillium Dude View Post
Yeah, but then there's this: “They can come within the hour, and stay as long as they’d like in the area.

That's the line that made me think they might not be thinking this all the way through. You know I spent a long time in the PNW, and in recent years there's been an awful lot of policy put into place without due diligence paid to unintended consequences. In this case, it seems at the end of any given day there will still be congestion as people make their various ways out. Of course, time will tell; I actually hope this helps. Traffic sux, especially when you're trying to enjoy the scenery.

DD
Well, the neat part about the stops along the Old Gorge Highway is the opportunity to stop and hike around the waterfalls. The hike up Oneonta Gorge is a lot of fun, but should only be attempted on hot days when you have spare shoes packed. That water is cold...

This Incredible Gorge Should Be On Top Of Your Bucket List (iexplore.com)

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Old 02-28-22, 11:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Vintage Schwinn View Post
Here is the recommendation that I would suggest:

<snip>

I would allow state residents (legal residents of the state of Oregon) to apply for a Bicycle Permit that is non-transferable, good only to the issued resident, good for a period of 3 years for a total fee of $15........it would be good for unlimited use, every day for 36 months(3 years) until expiration date, when it could be renewed again for three years for $15 or the then future prevailing rate assuming possible inflation etc.......but lets say the 3 year pass Bicycle Permit for Legal residents of Oregon would remain $15 at least until 2029 before any price increase. .
<snip>
Chuck, that's pretty silly. The Old Gorge Highway is an easy ride for me, and I've been a Washington resident since I moved here.

In fact, the way I've ridden it is a loop starting in Vancouver, Washington heading east along SR-14, crossing at the Bridge of the Gods, and back west on the frontage roads and Old Gorge Highway.. It's about 88 miles if you cross back over on the I-205 bridge, a complete century ride if you go all the way to the I-5 bridge and downtown Vancouver.
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Old 03-01-22, 01:48 AM
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One of my memories from a Gorge ride...for some reason these rock catchers don't make me feel safe anymore.



This is a bad sign.

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Old 03-01-22, 02:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post

One of my memories from a Gorge ride...for some reason these rock catchers don't make me feel safe anymore.


Gotta give credit where credit is due. Here's photographic proof that it wasn't a rock, but wanton vandalism on your part:





I always hear the sound effects from "The Six Million Dollar Man" when I peep this pic.

DD
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