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HCRHT: Twin Tunnels Trail

Easy/Intermediate
  3.8 ( 5 ) Favorite

Trail

9.5 mile 15.3 kilometer out and back
99% Runnable
Easy/Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 650' 198 m
Descent: -650' -198 m
High: 520' 159 m
Low: 218' 66 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 3% (1°)
Max Grade: 8% (5°)

Dogs

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Trail shared by Eric Ashley

Overlooks, views, and tunnels make this part of Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail great.

Eric Ashley

Features Views · Wildflowers

Both the east and west Mark O. Hatfield Trailheads require a Oregon State Parks Day-Use Parking Permit.

Overview

A section of restored Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail that opened to the public in 2000, giving visitors access to a smoothly paved trail that allows countless views of the Columbia River along gentle grades. The trails namesake tunnels are located less than a mile from the East trailhead.

Runner Notes

A great paved run with views along the way. This is a popular multi-use trail so practice good trail etiquette and consider walking through the tunnels.

Description

This trail can be traveled in either direction as a shuttle or an out-and-back. From the east, the trail starts along the shoulder of Rock Creek Road before shortly crossing over to the old highway. Past the gate, the trail crosses through a large boulder field dotted with pine trees. The edge of the gorge is soon reached and the trail continues west, paralleling the river.

From the stone guardrail you'll get you first glimpse of Eighteen Mile Island Below. Ahead, a stone-walled lookout on the edge of the gorge provides an even better view. In April and May the grassy area around the lookout brightens with several types of wildflowers including balsam root.

Directly beyond the lookout is the entrance to the east tunnel. The combined length of the tunnels is quite short and visibility remains good throughout. There are also a few side passages leading to windows know as adits. On the other end of the tunnels is a long structure to catch rocks. If you're looking for a shorter out-and-back option, the tunnels are a popular spot to turn around.

Beyond the tunnels the trail continues for about four miles until it reaches the Mark Hatfield West Trailhead and the visitor center there. This portion receives more moisture and is greener and has more trees as a result.

This content was contributed by the Friends of the Columbia Gorge. To find more runs they recommend and to learn about their efforts to support the Columbia Gorge click here.

History & Background

When Interstate 84 opened in 1954, the original Columbia River Highway was abandoned and these two tunnels were filled in with rock. Later the idea of reopening the old highway as a tourist destination grew and work began in 1995 to reconnect the old highway between Mosier and Hood River.

In addition to the adits in the tunnel, you'll also milepost 72 and carved graffiti from 1921 that details the names of the party who was stranded in the tunnel during a snowstorm.

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Need to Know, Flora & Fauna

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Contacts

Land Manager: Oregon State Parks

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Jul 27, 2019
Sarah Nos
Started at the Mosier trailhead. There's a good uphill in the beginning and a tunnel. Great views of the Columbia. Bring your own water. 6.8mi — 1h 06m
Dec 2, 2018
Marty B
6.5mi

Trail Ratings

  3.8 from 5 votes

#3102

Overall
  3.8 from 5 votes
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Featured Run Rankings

#100

in Oregon

#3,102

Overall
72 Views Last Month
1,466 Since Oct 6, 2016
Easy/Intermediate

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Photos

A view of Eighteen Mile Island from the Twin Tunnels Trail.
Oct 6, 2016 near Mosier, OR
Entrance to the East Tunnel.
Oct 6, 2016 near Mosier, OR

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