PORTLAND — One of the most popular treks to Mount Jefferson has reopened more than two years after a wildfire closed it to public access.

The U.S. Forest Service announced Wednesday night that the Whitewater Trail in Central Oregon had officially reopened.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the trail was heavily damaged by a wildfire that started in July 2017 from a lightning strike.

The fire smoldered for weeks before wind picked up the flames. The fire burned more than 22 square miles of forest before cooling down months later.

The Whitewater trail is one of the most popular ways to access Jefferson Park at the base of Mount Jefferson.

In 2018, Willamette National Forest officials estimated the cost of repairing the trail at $73,500.

Officials had hoped to reopen it earlier, but in May extended the closure for more clean up.

— The Associated Press

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