By Bryan Dorr
MT. HOOD NATIONAL FOREST—Hikers planning on hiking to the popular Ramona Falls near the Old Maid Flat area in the Mt. Hood National Forest should do so before the temporary footbridge is removed.
Unless hikers want to add some extra distance to their hike or get their feet soaking wet.
During the fall the U. S. Forest Service removes the temporary footbridge crossing the Sandy River that connects the Sandy River Trail #770 with Ramona Falls Trail #797, saving it from washing downstream during the fall and winter seasons high water flow.
The U. S. Forest Service Zigzag Ranger Station does not have conformation on the exact date when the seasonal footbridge will be removed this fall. They also said the bridge removal has been traditionally around Columbus Day.
The Forest Service replaces the footbridge the following spring or summer after the snowmelt and when the Sandy River water level is lower.
Hikers have the option to ford the Sandy River if the bridge is not present, but fording is done at the hiker’s risk and it is not recommended to be done solo.
A sign along the Sandy River Trail provides hikers crossing instructions and safety tips when crossing a stream or a river, but fording such streams or rivers can also be lethal.
Sarah Bishop was a skilled hiker who died while trying to ford the Sandy River when the river water level was unseasonably high back in August 2004.
Hikers unable to safely cross the Sandy River because of its water level may have to hike 2.7 miles north on the Pacific Crest Trail (formerly Bald Mountain Trail #784) to the Top Spur trailhead along Road 118 near Lolo Pass.
Ramona Falls is a 50-foot waterfall located in the Mt. Hood Wilderness and it is a popular destination for both day hikers and equine riders.
To check on the status of the temporary trail bridge and trail conditions, visit the U. S. Forest Service Website at http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/mthood/recreation/trails/zigzag/.