Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, Near Cascade Locks, Oregon
Eagle Creek Day Use Area does not offer reservations through Recreation.gov. Please take a look at the area details below for more information about visiting this location. Enjoy your visit!
This historic site is a great accessible spot for a picnic alongside the mouth of the stunning Eagle Creek slot canyon. Today's picnic area was once the site of the first developed campground in the U.S. Forest Service, with facilities that were later rebuilt during the Great Depression by the Civilian Conservation Corps structures. On site remains the famous historic restroom (currently closed) nicknamed "Big John." The 1916 structure was the first flush toilet in the U.S. Forest Service.
Look for the historic Community Kitchen Pavilion perched on the hillside, which is wheelchair accessible. Stone ovens and an old trail register sit on the road to the trailhead. All the site's historic structures were saved by firefighters in 2017, when a massive wildfire known as Eagle Creek Fire started on nearby Eagle Creek Trail #440 (still closed for repairs).
A lovely suspension bridge which once allowed hikers to cross Eagle Creek for the Gorge Trail #400 and Wauna Viewpoint Trail #402 did not fare so well in the fire. Intense heat snapped a cable, causing the bridge to warp, so it was removed to prevent further damage to the downstream hatchery and other infrastructure. The Forest Service is working on plans to replace the bridge but there is no timeline yet for reopening.
Due to post-fire hazards on the landscapes, many other area trails including Ruckel Creek Trail #405 are still closed while crews clear and stabilize trails.
The roads have tight curves, so trailers longer than 20 feet trailer cannot fit into this recreation area.
The paved Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail, great for road biking or a scenic run, runs to the town of Cascade Locks to the east and runs west to connect with the Historic Columbia River Highway Waterfall Corridor (where bikes must share the road with cars).
The state-run Cascade Hatchery is located onsite, offering self-guided tours. During the fall, visitors can view chinook and coho salmon spawning at Eagle Creek. Please protect spawning salmon by looking without touching. Do not throw rocks or poke salmon with sticks and stay out of the creek during spawning season.