Black smoke poured from a B-17 bomber as it went down Aug. 16, 1943, on Tollgate Mountain. Don Goodrich, who was stationed at a fire lookout, watched the plane descend in a steep spiral before nosing into a tail spin and exploding on impact about two miles from High Ridge lookout tower.

According to records at the Pendleton Air Museum, the site is about 50 yards north of the Lake Creek Trail. All three of the bomber’s engines and many smaller pieces are scattered at the site.

Curtiss Nelson, an air museum board member, will lead a hike to the site Saturday, July 14. Those interested in participating can meet at 8 a.m. in the parking lot at Heritage Station Museum, 108 S.W. Frazer Ave., Pendleton.

The group will carpool to the trailhead. The hike will go over a moderate trail two miles to the site. Participants are asked to bring water and a sack lunch. In addition, sunscreen, bug repellent, a lightweight jacket and hat are recommended. The hike isn’t open to pets or children under 5.

According to archived information at the Pendleton Air Museum, the B-17 bomber was on a training flight from Pendleton Air Field when it crashed near the High Ridge fire tower. All four crewmen aboard the plane were killed. After the crash, a number of personnel from the Pendleton Air Field arrived at the scene as soon as they could get there. They stayed at the site for about a week. This was one of several plane crashes in the area during World War II.

An Aug. 18, 1943, article in the East Oregonian reported four bodies were recovered from the accident site. They were Lt. Lewis W. Hubbard of Monett, Mo.; Lt. Walter P. Fitzmaurice of Anaconda, Mont.; Lt. Francis L. Stephenson of Pontiac, Ill.; and  Master Sgt. Philip J. Rogers of Duluth, Minn.

The special outing will feature storytelling and provide a nature adventure, photo opportunities and family fun. For more information, call Becky Dunlap at 541-278-0141 or Susan Doyle at 541-966-8854 or

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