035a Mitchell Creek to Mitchell Point Tunnel (Milepost 2016 - Section F)

1870s Wagon Road Grade Cut Off By HCRH
Historic Columbia River Highway. Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. Oregon. April 25, 2013.

Mitchell Point from I-84 off ramp
Mitchell Point Viewpoint. Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. Oregon. April 25, 2013

Hood River County 8, Hood River, 1931 - CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE
Page 016 - Township 3 N. Range 10 E., Hood River, Clifton, Ruthton, Sonny
Atlas: Hood River County 1931
State: Oregon
Metsker Maps 1931
Item # US1314922
Historic Map Works.

Viento to Mitchell Point - Wygant Trail - MP 61 - 2011

Viento to Mitchell Point - Wygant Trail - Lidar

ODOT: Milepost 2016 Reconnection Projects - Phase Two - Section F - Mitchell Creek to Mitchell Point Tunnel

Milepost 61


Trail Segment Highlights
LENGTH: .7 miles
2014 COST: $14.4 million

Level of difficulty:
Easy to Moderate
slopes not exceeding 5%

• A new 1,200 foot tunnel with windows capturing views to the Columbia River, much like the original tunnel
• Enhanced interpretation of Mitchell Point as outlined in the HCRH Oral History Project
• Improved parking lot for 25 cars
• 1,200 foot tunnel
• Viewpoints at Mitchell Point West
• Viewpoint at center of viaduct
• Viewpoint at Mitchell Point East
• Quarry floor restoration area
• Peregrine Falcon habitat

Mitchell Point West Trailhead Description:
• Existing large asphalt parking area
• No definition of existing HCRH
• Existing overlook with interpretive sign
• Chain link fences to protect visitors from fall
• Existing rockfall into existing parking area
• Existing restroom
• Site has various remnants of past commercial development
• Invasive species and remnant ornamental landscape plantings

Trailhead Amenities:
• New Tunnel through Mitchell Point
• Reconfigure parking area to provide for better traffic flow and turnaround
• Maximum 25 car parking area at existing parking area
• Provide bike and hike trip staging area
• New overlooks with interpretive signage
• Improve trail access through the site
• Provide trail information, directional signage

ODOT: Milepost 2016 Reconnection Projects - Phase Two - Section F - Mitchell Creek to Mitchell Point Tunnel

Funding (As of May 2013):

Environmental: Complete
Engineering: $2 Million Needed
Construction: $11.1 Million Needed
Total Funds Needed: $13.1 Million

Source: ODOT

ODOT: 2009 Plan - Segment 8 - Mitchell Point Tunnel:


At this location, a tunnel originally connected the two intact historic highway segments on either side of Mitchell Point. The “Tunnel of Many Vistas” was 390 feet long and had five adits, or “windows,” with magnificent views of the scenic Columbia River. The tunnel was 18 feet wide and 19 feet high at the crown. A viaduct was used to access the tunnel’s west portal, and a cut into the hillside accessed the west end of this span. The state closed the old highway route through the Mitchell Point Tunnel in 1953 because of increased vehicle size and rockfall hazards. The tunnel and much of the approach route to the west, including the viaduct, were removed when the state removed the hillside to make room for full build-out of Interstate 84. The only remnants of the tunnel are narrow ledges at the west and east approaches. These benched areas are located about 200 feet above Interstate 84 and currently used as rockfall catchment areas in conjunction with other catchments adjacent to Interstate 84 below.

Reconstruction of Mitchell Point Tunnel would not only provide a way through Mitchell Point but also provide future trail users and visitors a unique way to experience the historic highway and Columbia River Gorge. In spring 2008, the Friends of the Historic Columbia River Highway contracted with GRI, geotechnical engineers, to prepare a geotechnical feasibility study for a new tunnel through Mitchell Point.

Their report envisions a tunnel that connects the two old highway segments east and west of Mitchell Point near the original grade of the historic highway. With a tunnel width and height of 18 feet and length of about 1,200 feet. Tunnel report includes three to fi ve adits (windows) from the main tunnel to the cliff face to the north to provide viewing areas and allow for natural light. The west portal is located at the existing rock outcrop near the northeast corner of the parking area. The east portal requires a cut in soil and decomposed rock before tunneling can begin.

Trail Segment Highlights:
• A tunnel would become a landmark, a monument, and a tourist attraction. This is the most cost eff ective way around Mitchell Point (Photo 8C).
• OPRD recently received funding through Forest Highway Enhancement Funds to redesign and enhance the parking lot at Mitchell Point (Site Plan A and Photo 8A).
• Most visually subordinate of the all options to get around Mitchell Point.
• Site is accessible to eastbound I-84 motorists.
• Incredible Columbia River Gorge views (Photo 8B)

ODOT: 2009 Plan - Segment 8 - Mitchell Point Tunnel

CLICK HERE to continue exploring the highway

CLICK HERE to continue exploring the highway