Known as the Columbia Gorge Recreation Area prior to Wilderness designation, this area lies just south of the sheer cliffs of the Columbia River Gorge. Most of the land adjacent to the river and along Interstate 84 is privately owned and often developed and, of course, outside the Wilderness boundary. The breaks of the gorge are spectacular basalt cliffs, rocky slopes, and rock outcroppings. Rugged and steep, the slopes of the Wilderness rise to a slightly uneven plateau and on to mountain peaks, talus slopes, and lakes with elevations ranging from approximately 100 feet near the river to 4,900 feet on Mount Defiance. Sparkling waterfalls and mossy-green cliff faces often highlight the deep drainages slashing through the broad, flat ridge tops. The main waterways--Herman Creek, Eagle Creek, and Tanner Creek--flow north toward the river, supporting borders of western hemlock and fir. Most of the 200 miles of trails follow drainages. Approximately 14 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail and the Eagle Creek Trail receive the most use. The Eagle Creek Trail, with seven waterfalls, a tunnel, and designated campsites, can be hiked in a 16-mile-plus loop that hurdles Tanner Butte. Its proximity to Portland translates into lots of people. If you require solitude, take one of the quieter trails; Tanner Butte, Herman Creek, and Nick Eaton Ridge. Each of these is approximately 10 to 12 miles round-trip.
Leave No Trace
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.
Oregon Wilderness Act of 1984 - Public law 98-328 (6/26/1984) To designate certain national forest system lands in the State of Oregon for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation
System, and for other purposes
Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 - Public law 104-208 (9/30/1996) Making omnibus consolidated appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 1997, and for other purposes. (SEE PAGE 547 for the start of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996)
Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 - Public law 111-11 (3/30/2009) An act to designate certain land as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System, to authorize certain programs and activities in the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture, and for other purposes.