A view from Angels Rest Trail
A view from Angel's Rest Trail U.S. FOREST SERVICE- PACIFIC NORTHWEST REGION

Washington State Parks is bracing for unusually popular hiking season, thanks to last summer's Eagle Creek Fire closing off 40 of Oregon's most popular trails along the Columbia River Gorge. FORTY. Including crowd favorites like Angel's Rest, the Eagle Creek trail to Punchbowl Falls, Horsetail Falls Loop, Table Mountain — and the trails leading to the top of Multnomah Falls.

"State Parks and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) trails are experiencing a significant increase in hikers and crowded parking on the Washington side of the Gorge," reads a Washington State Parks press release. "Parks staff encourages hikers to plan visits for midweek, early morning or late afternoon to avoid the high-volume weekend, holiday and mid-morning to mid-afternoon hours."

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The state expects an even greater uptick in hiking-deprived Oregonians during the summer, particularly at Beacon Rock and Columbia Hills state parks. Washington's Dog Mountain hike now requires spring and summer permits for weekend hikers, and rangers are warning drivers that parking on the highway is illegal (and could end in a ticket). Luckily, Dog Mountain will also have a shuttle system to the trail head starting at Skamania County Fairgrounds.

For die-hard Oregon hikers who think they can slip by the trail closures, be warned: It'll cost you. Many trails are closed due to the risk of landslide and trail collapse, but that hasn't stopped many hikers from wandering in and getting fined or injured.

Washington recommends you explore lesser-known trails in Washington, like Crawford Oaks, Horsethief Butte, Brooks Memorial State Park, and the Klickitat State Park Trail. In Oregon, you can get updates on which trails are open or closed from the Friends of Columbia Gorge. And if you see any of those poor folks, give them a hug. We're all still in mourning.