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Travel Changes Ahead for the Gorge Waterfall Corridor

Travel Changes Ahead for the  Gorge Waterfall Corridor
The Historic Columbia River Highway crosses Shepperd’s Dell, near Latourell Falls. (photographer: James Unkov)
By Kevin Gorman
Executive Director
March 30, 2022
Categorie(s): Latest News

Note: Due to updated information, this article was revised on April 22, 2022. The revision is noted in italics.

This summer, the Oregon Department of Transportation will initiate a pilot plan along the Historic Columbia River Highway’s “waterfall corridor,” to improve safety and emergency response times, reduce congestion, and improve visitors’ experience.

Summer traffic through the corridor has intensified in recent years, and the pilot project will incorporate several modes of transportation, including public and private transit, shuttle services, and bicycling opportunities. Private vehicle traffic will be metered, with vehicles required to reserve time-based permits to use the highway between Vista House and Ainsworth State Park. There will be a small administrative fee for the permits.

From May 24 through Labor Day, drivers of private vehicles will need to plan ahead and secure permits online to access the Historic Columbia River Highway. The time-based permits will allow vehicles to show up at one of two entry points along the highway—Bridal Veil State Park, or Ainsworth State Park—within one hour of their permitted time. The permits will be required between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. for entry to the Historic Highway from the Bridal Veil off-ramp (Interstate 84 Exit 28) and Ainsworth State Park (Exit 35). 

Once they arrive, the permitted visitors can stay as long as they like. Cyclists and corridor residents will not need permits. Visitors using public transit or on tours will not require individual permits (tour operators will be permitted).

This pilot project follows ODOT’s and other agency partners’ efforts over the last two years to address safety and congestion concerns at Multnomah Falls. Permitting for use of the I-84 Multnomah Falls parking lot is expected to continue in 2022.

More shuttle options to access the Historic Columbia River Highway are offered this year by Waterfall Trolley and Sasquatch Shuttles, while the Columbia Gorge Express provides public transit on I-84 with stops at Multnomah Falls. Schedules, fares, routes, and additional information can also be found at Columbia Gorge Car-Free.

More information about the Historic Highway seasonal permit pilot project can be found at ODOT'S waterfall corridor permits page and Ready, Set, Gorge.

When do I need a permit for my vehicle?

May 24–Sept. 5

Where do I get a permit?

For permit details visit waterfallcorridorpermits.org.

How much does it cost?

Daily permits will cost $2 each.