Storm damage closes Gorge hiking bridge

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Recent winter storms have caused Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area officials to close a bridge along a popular hiking trail on the Oregon side of the river.

A 60-foot steel bridge crossing Multnomah Creek sustained “major damage” earlier this month when a tree snapped in half and sent almost a ton of wood crashing onto the span, Gorge officials said. U.S. Forest Service engineers determined the bridge is unsafe, prompting its closure. The bridge is located about 2 miles from the Multnomah Falls lodge, along the Larch Mountain trail.

The Larch Mountain-Wahkeena Trail loop remains open, according to Gorge officials. The Larch Mountain trail beyond the closed bridge is also damaged and snow-covered.

The Gorge scenic area experienced “extreme” damage in places due to heavy snow, ice and wind earlier this month, officials said. The blast of wintry weather toppled dozens of trees across the region.