Friday, April 5, 2019

The Washington Side of the Gorge: Fort Cascades Trail

A nice place to wander to experience the mossy forest, learn about Columbia River fish and a little bit of Pacific Northwest history is the Fort Cascades Historic Site. This shady trail is located one mile downstream (west) of the Bonneville Dam and is reached from the Dam Access Road on Hamilton Island, off of Washington State Highway 14. Parking is free.

Cool, Mossy Fort Cascades Trail
Fort Cascades was an army fort built in 1855 to protect a portage road around the lower cascades rapids of the Columbia River.  The fort burned down in 1856 and the area was abandoned in 1861 and then flooded out in 1894. Pick up a brochure at the kiosk at the trailhead so you can follow the interpretive markers along the trail.

The 1.5 mile Fort Cascades Trail will take you past historic sites (don’t expect to see remains of buildings) where you can look for abandoned wheels and metal equipment among the beautiful mossy rocks, ferns, and woods. The trail eventually leads into the town of North Bonneville if you do not follow the trail looping back.

Remnants of the Portage Railroad

You'll catch some great views of the dam upstream and learn about fish hatcheries and the protection of fish in this area of the Columbia River.
Bonneville Dam
It is a lovely flat trail to take on a warm day because of the shade. Pets are allowed on leash. Map

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