Just what we need! As trail use continues to escalate and many of our close to the city trails become downright crowded-we have just lost access to a popular trailhead in the Columbia River Gorge. What does that mean? Two wonderful Columbia River Gorge hiking destinations—Aldrich Butte and Table Mountain just got a whole lot more difficult to get to.
The Bonneville Hot Springs Resort which for years allowed the public to access these places through its Dick Thomas Trailhead has recently sold its facilities to a rehab center. Not surprisingly the new center is closing all public access to the facility grounds and closing the trailhead and trail. I totally understand the reasons for this, but it would have been nicer if the hiking community were given some time to come up with a new trailhead—and transition to it before complete access was cut off.
Fortunately the folks of the Bonneville Trails Foundation (BTF) are on it. But it is going to take some time—so plan accordingly for now if you want to reach both Table Mountain and Aldrich Butte. Now you must reach these destinations via the PCT and Tamanous Trail from a trailhead near the Bonneville Dam.
This closure effects hikes number 22 and 23 in my Day Hiking Columbia River Gorge Book.
To reach these destinations now follow the directions for hike no. 26. Then continue hiking beyond the Greenleaf Overlook to reach the trails leading to Aldrich and Table.
Note the stats difference:
Old stats 3.6 mile roundtrip 1080 feet elevation gain
New stats 12.8 miles roundtrip 1200 feet elevation gain
Old stats 9 miles roundtrip 3425 feet elevation
New stats 16.8 miles roundtrip 3600 feet elevation gain
The Bonneville Trails Foundation has begun a planning process for a replacement trail and trailhead, but as I stated earlier, this will take some time to develop. The BTA invites all interested trail users to discuss this trail closure and how best to manage it at their next trail meeting which will be held at the Bonneville Event Center in North Bonneville WA on Feb. 21st. Check out the BTA website for the latest update and details of meetings. And of course I will keep you up to date on this issue as well.
For detailed information on 100 hikes within the Gorge on both sides of the Columbia River (including hikes in Portland and Vancouver), pick up a copy of my Day Hiking Columbia River Gorge (Mountaineers Books)!