Chinook Trail Association
The concept of the Chinook Trail originated in 1986 with two lifelong hiking companions, Don Cannard and Ed Robertson, who were retired educators and elementary school principals in the Vancouver School District. Standing on the summit of Silver Star, a 4,390 foot peak noted for its glorious wildflower displays, they dreamed of a trail going through the Columbia River Gorge. Originally, the trail was only going to go through Washington, but then the Forest Service suggested a bi-state loop going through Oregon and Washington. Others agreed enthusiastically, and in 1988, the Chinook Trail Association was chartered.
The original concept developed into that of a 300 mile rim top loop trail which would encircle the Columbia River Gorge. An additional 200 miles would be designated connector trails which would junction with existing trails such as the Pacific Crest Trail and communities in the Columbia River Gorge area. The first section of new trail, the Kloochman Butte connector which connects Silver Star to Washington’s Larch Mountain, began on National Trails Day in 1993 and completed a year later.
Honoring the name of the Native Americans living for thousands of years along the Columbia River, the Chinook Trail will begin at Vancouver lake near Vancouver, Washington. The trail will climb northeast to its highest point, Silver Star Mountain, before meandering onto the rims of the Columbia River Gorge and continuing upriver to Maryhill State Park, some 100 miles from Vancouver.
Completion of the Chinook Trail will come only with an enormous amount of cooperation between local, state, and federal agencies, and private ownership.The non-profit Chinook Trail Association invites you to join in our mission, vision, and values for the future.