New facility blocks access to popular Gorge trail

The Bonneville Trail in the Columbia River Gorge. (KOIN)

NORTH BONNEVILLE, Wash. (KOIN) — The Columbia River Gorge is full of amazing hiking trials, but one popular trail near North Bonneville might need a rework for public trail access.

The Bonneville Trail in the Columbia River Gorge. (KOIN)

The Dick Thomas Trailhead, an unofficial starting point for the Table Mountain trail, starts at what used to be the Bonneville Hot Springs Resort and Spa. Up until this winter, the hot springs allowed people to park in their lot to access the trails that would eventually lead to Table Mountain.

Now, that spot is the new home of Foundations Recovery Network, a substance abuse and mental health treatment facility. Rules and regulations there don’t allow public on the property.

North Bonneville City Planner Tom Jermann wants to keep public access to those trails, so the city and Bonneville Trails Foundation are working with the U.S. Forest Service to create an official access point from a public parking lot.

“There are aspects that cross private property then we have to get proper legal easements where you have the right away to get to the trail and if there is a sale you don’t run into challenges like this again,” Rachel Pawlitz with the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area said. 

In the meantime, hikers going to Table Mountain can still get there from the official Bonneville Trailhead up the road from the unofficial Dick Thomas Trail Head. That hike is about 10 miles longer and up to 2,000 feet higher elevation.