Mosier Twin Tunnels

Mosier Twin Tunnels
A Section of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail
June 21st, 2008

Map of the Mosier Twin Tunnels Section of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail

Our good friends from Egypt, Sameh and Amy, had been staying in Portland for a couple of months, and the entire time my friend Sam had been trying to take them on a hike. This trip was a result of his efforts. The trail followed a route that used to be part of the old Columbia River Highway and had been closed and not in use by cars for years. A few years ago it had been re-opened as a scenic and historic trail for pedestrians and bicyclists. I had never heard about this section of the old highway at all and was excited to check it out.

So, the group of us included me, Sam and Josh (friends from church), Amy and Sameh (friends from Egypt) and three girls who were also visiting from out of town who had gotten to know Amy and Sameh at the organization where they were working. The section of the walk we did was from the Mark O. Hatfield Trailhead West to a viewpoint that was just past the Tunnels and back. As I recall, I think our round trip was about 6 miles.

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The Group Near the Beginning of the Walk
View Near the Beginning of the Trail
View of the Trail
Sparse Brown Hills With a Few Trees
Sparse Brown Hills With a Few Trees
A Gravel Path Heading Toward the River
More Hills and Cliffs
Purple and Blue Wildflowers
Josh, Sam and Amy and a Bicyclist on the Trail
View of the Columbia River Looking West
View of the Train Below
Closer View of the Trail Below
Amy, Josh and Sam Holding His New Camera
View of the Columbia River Looking West with a Small Island
Amy and Sameh in Front of The Columbia River
Concrete Structure Before the First Tunnel
Vertical Shot of Concrete Structure Before First Tunnel
Island with House and Dock
Girls in the Not-The-Tunnel
Inside the Not-The-Tunnel
Inside the Concrete Structure
End of Not-The-Tunnel Going Into the First Tunnel
The Group Walking Into The First Tunnel
Sameh Taking a Photo of Amy and The Girls in the First Tunnel
Close-Up of the New Wooden Structure of the First Tunnel
Arch at the Entrance of the Second Tunnel
Looking Back at the First Tunnel
Vertical Shot at the End of the First Tunnel Showing the Gates
Lookout Hole in the Second Tunnel
View Out the Lookout Hole in the Second Tunnel
The Girls Resting in the Tunnel
Inside of the Second Tunnel Looking West
View Out the End of Second Tunnel
Sam, Josh, Amy and Sameh at Our Lunch Spot In The Tunnel
Sam, Josh, Amy and Sameh at Our Lunch Spot In The Tunnel
Looking Back Toward the Trail from the Viewpoint
Looking Back Toward the Trail From the Viewpoint
Looking Through the Arched and Barred Hole in the Viewpoint Wall
Wildflowers and Fenceposts
The Group at The Viewpoint
A Cool Looking Tree in a Field of Grasses and Wildflowers
View of the Columbia River Looking East From the Viewpoint
Field of Grasses and Wildflowers Broken in Half by Wooden Fenc
The Group Heading Back
Tree and Pond in a Valley
Fence and Tree on The Side Trail

From left to right: Sam, Josh, Amy, Sameh and the girls.

The trail was pretty newly paved and pretty wide. It looked like a great path for bikes. I'd actually really like to go back there and do the trip on my bike (when I finally get a bike to replace the one that was stolen years ago).

After a little while of walking where we could see the river to our left we came to this section of somewhat barren hills that separated our trail from the river view.

After a break in the hills we came to this little gravel path. It was nice to see an unpaved trail, but I don't think we took it, at least on the way out. We took a gravel / dirt trail to a viewpoint on the way back, and this was probably it, although my memory is so bad that I can't be sure.

River views again...

Sam is a big fan of trains, so he enjoyed taking some photos here.

This was one of Sam's first trips with his new digital SLR, so he was enjoying trying it out.

I really liked this photo of Amy and Sameh. We always enjoy having them in town. Hopefully it will continue to be an annual event.

We thought this strange looking structure might be the first of the two tunnels, but it wasn't. It looks like it was just built to keep the giant mountain of rock from falling on unsuspecting pedestrians--probably a good idea.

There was definitely a lot of rock above that structure. I'm sure it has served it's purpose well.

It looks like there's a house and a dock on this little island that we could see from right before going into the non-tunnel structure.

The inside of this structure looked really neat with the interesting lighting and shadows.

I really like this one.

Right after the end of the not-tunnel was the beginning of the first tunnel. I'm not sure what all this looked like when it was actually being used for cars to drive on... it was pretty cool to walk through, though.

It looked like this tunnel had fairly recently been redone, as this wood looked pretty new and pristine.

I think this was the entrance of the second tunnel. I'm not totally sure because it looks like the roof is wooden like the first one, and the second I remember being mostly sprayed on concrete or something like that... so, the entrance of this one must have wood for just a little ways before it transitions to the other structure.

The end of the first tunnel had these huge iron (well, they looked like iron) gates on it. It looked really neat.

The second tunnel had a couple of lookout holes like this. They had these bars on them to keep people from falling off the cliff. I guess that had happened to someone in the past... very sad.

This picture is really blurry 'cause I didn't have a tripod and it was very dark, but I tried it anyway 'cause the lighting looked so cool. Two of the girls rested at this spot for quite a while while the rest of us ate our lunches near the other end of the tunnel and their friend walked around taking pictures.

This was the view out of the end of the second tunnel.

This is where we ate lunch. I wish I would've had a tripod, 'cause even on ISO 1600 it was still too dark.

Shortly after the end of the tunnel we came to this viewpoint. This is looking back toward the trail from the beginning of the viewpoint area.

This is looking through a hole in the wall of the viewpoint.

There were tons of these nice blue wildflowers near the viewpoint.

Here's us at the viewpoint. It was pretty nice.

Looking east from the viewpoint...

After hanging out at the viewpoint for a while we decided to head back. I think the viewpoint is about 3 miles from the start of the trail, so it was about a 6 mile trip, or a little less.

This was a view of a little valley that we saw from a little side trail we checked out on the way back. That was the only non-paved section that we did. It was nice to get off the road.

I thought this tree looked kinda neat. This was near the top of that unpaved side trail as well. From there we headed back to the cars and back to Portland. It was a pretty neat trip. Very accessible for just about anyone since it's pretty flat and paved. It would be a nice short scenic bike ride someday.