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.

Don Cannard

Ed Robertson


Enhance the Columbia River Gorge by creating a backcountry route that connects communities with the natural beauty of the region.


Protect and expand the Chinook National Recreation Trail to complete a bi-state scenic loop in the Columbia River Gorge.



We believe nature is an inclusive space for all who seek its lessons and benefits. The Chinook Trail has much to offer and is open to anyone who wishes to share in its gifts.


We promote a culture of stewardship that results in the protection of the Columbia River Gorge natural environment.

Economic Opportunity

The Chinook Trail Association believes every Gorge community should have an opportunity for economic growth. To that end the Chinook Trail Association strives to have a positive impact on the livelihood and earning potential of every town within its reach.


We will partner with outdoor organizations, government agencies, and private landowners to promote, protect and enhance the Chinook Trail.

Be Part of The Chinook Trail Association

Click on the Donate button, enter the amount, choose “Membership” in the dropdown, and click one of the two donate options. Click Donate Now to complete the transaction.


Please add your name and email to the Paypal information. $20 – Student/Senior $35 – Individual $50 – Family $100 – Sustaining $500 – Benefactor

When you were a kid, did you ever play the game of connecting dots to discover the “secret” picture after you had completed it? Well, that’s just about what Chinook Trail has been doing the past 20 years- connecting segments of trail and building the missing pieces so that one day we will achieve our secret picture, a unique rim-top trail encircling the Columbia River. This trail will provide challenges and respite from urban living that will, no doubt, become more and more necessary as population grows here in the Northwest. There are no finer wildflower experiences than one can find atop Silver Star, Rowena Plateau or a host of other spots along the Chinook Trail route. There are places where the view is so grand; you wonder why anyone would ever feel the need to travel elsewhere to see beautiful vistas. For the trail to become a reality, we know that we must have a partnership with the agencies whose land we traverse, and also with you, our supporters. We are looking forward to the future completion of this trail and your continued support in the Chinook Trail Association. The next segment of the picture needs your help. Chinook Trail Association invites you to join our challenge of completing the dream. It may take many years; but it will be done, with the help of those who share a commitment to our vision.

If you would rather send a check, please mail your check and contact information, noting Membership, to: Chinook Trail Association P.O. Box 61686 Vancouver, WA 98666

If you would like more information please contact Chinook Trail Association: Copy and paste our email address into the contact form below, copy our email address and paste into your email editor: , or Call Ted @ 360-907-5733