Surveying Wildfire Damage in the Herman Creek Drainage

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Eagle Creek Wildfire

Early last year a large, human-caused wildfire was started in the Eagle Creek Drainage in the Columbia River Gorge.

The 4,000-foot Benson Plateau is bordered to the west by Eagle Creek and to the east by Herman Creek. Last July I hiked to the top of the Plateau from the Herman Creek Campground.

Amazingly enough, the fire had stopped below the rim of the Plateau. However, the Herman Creek drainage showed much signs of wildfire damage.

In mid-January curiosity got the best of me. I decided to hike five miles up the east side of Herman Creek and see how much wildfire damage there was. The answer – – – a lot! There were many charred trees along the trail, both standing and fallen.

On the good news side, many of the mature Douglas firs appeared to be in good shape, and there was already green undergrowth everywhere. As always, life goes on.

I’m the first person to hike the area in a while

Lots of wildfire damage to be seen

One of several pretty waterfalls along the trail

Wildfire damage along the trail

More wildfire damage

Good advice

An oasis

Over four miles up Herman Creek

Wildfire damage



Categories: Columbia River Gorge HikesTags: ,


  1. This post got me looking at the pictures I took of this area during 20 years of hiking in the Gorge. All the greenery then, all the trees. Yes, life does go on, but it’s still sad to see an old friend so badly damaged. 🙁

    • I couldn’t agree more. But, opening up the canopy will allow a flourishing undergrowth for many years to come. That’s great news for deer, elk, and many smaller animals and birds.

  2. Appreciate your reports of the wildfire damage, John, it is always interesting to see how nature recovers after such a devastating fire. I liked the “oases” photos of the rushing waterfall and creek in the middle, too, seeing all the abounding life in untouched spots. Thanks for this hike today.

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