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Medic Zero 06-19-18 07:35 AM

Gorge riding conditions (closures, smoke, best routes, etc.)

Like it says above, thread intended to track conditions in the Columbia River Gorge; road closures and conditions, construction, forest fire smoke, and best routes. On top of fire closures, construction seems to regularly either close roads outright or degrade cycling conditions through loss of lanes/shoulders, and construction (including new logging, it shifts around regularly) equipment and vehicles can make passing through extra dangerous as well.

I doubt I'm the only one who struggles to keep track of what's the best route east west along the Gorge. I'm pretty sure the below linked closure is still in effect, and most likely will be until Fall, or later.

I also would like to track/report smoke here. After having forest fires blanket my cycling routes touring a number of times now, twice with my having to cycle out of smoke filled areas, once irritating my lungs for a long time afterward, I think this is critical information as well. Airborne poison oak on the inside of the lungs sucks.

It's hopefully not quite fire season yet, but the way things have been going, it wouldn't surprise me if we had more closures over the next few months. :/

Oregon State Parks closes bike route on Oregon side of the Gorge for summer 2018 KPIC


fietsbob 06-19-18 12:53 PM, is the Oregonian newspaper web address.

Medic Zero 07-11-18 10:41 PM


Good news!

ODOT will create carfree lane on Historic Columbia River Highway when it reopens this fall



Olympianrider 08-08-18 08:33 PM

Hi, thought I'd post here because I'm baffled. What on earth is going on in the Columbia Gorge? Can a bicyclist get through or not? The official state-of-Oregon websites aren't much help, and news media coverage isn't either.

I'm based in Olympia, and I'm contemplating a cross-state ride to Spokane in a couple weeks. There really aren't any good routes over the Cascade Mountains in this state -- there are four highways over the mountains, but all have problems -- a dangerous lack of shoulders on White Pass, a passage unsuitable for road bikes over Snoqualmie, and too steep an ascent over Stevens. The North Cascades Highway is too far north.

That leaves the southern route through the Gorge. A nice little 500-mile trip. For those who don't know the area, there are three highways through the Gorge, and there really are no alternate routes. The preferred bicycling route is old U.S. 30 on the Oregon side, now known as the Historic Columbia River Highway. There's also Interstate 84 on the Oregon side, one of the busiest freeways anywhere. And on the Washington side, there's Highway 14. (I'd like to avoid Highway 14. It's the most terrifying highway I've ever attempted, with no shoulders for long stretches, and guardrails that butt right up against traffic lanes -- traffic has to swerve at high speed to avoid hitting people on bikes. I tried doing it two years ago and aborted 15 miles from Washougal, albeit in a rainstorm.)

Unfortunately, the Oregon Highway Department has closed several miles of old U.S. 30 this season due to fire damage. Although riding on I-84 is permitted in these stretches, it isn't clear whether I-84 is passable for bicyclists. I notice a warning online indicating that bicyclists should not attempt going through a narrow tunnel at milepost 41, and a suggestion that bicyclists take Highway 30 instead. But this appears to be in the area where the old highway is closed.

So the question is -- can a bicyclist make it all the way through the Columbia Gorge this season? If so, how? Has anyone tried it this summer?

Erik Smith
Olympia, WA

fietsbob 08-20-18 03:16 PM

Because of the fires in Canada even Astoria , is getting smoke

and because of the moisture clinging onto smoke particles the overcast lingers all day..

Seattle is looking really dense.. smoky ..

CliffordK 08-20-18 03:25 PM

Originally Posted by Medic Zero (Post 20442696)

That sounds like a wonderful idea/experiment.

I wonder how they will deal with passing vehicles, and allowing cars and bikes in the traffic lane.

It seems like using a bike lane/pedestrian lane as a passing lane could prove to be dangerous.

With all the construction this year, so far I've avoided the gorge ride, although I presume one could get through using I-84 in parts.

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