The Klickitat trail is 16 miles (one way) and meets up with the Swale Canyon trail. We plan on doing all 16 miles in four sections, before the end of January (hopefully!). The four sections will either be out-and-back or one-way hikes.
This first section is from the Lyle Trailhead to the Fisher Hill Bridge Trailhead and it’s an out-and-back hike.
Directions: Take I-84 East to Hood River exit 64 (marked for White Salmon) and cross the Hood River Bridge ($1 toll). After crossing the bridge take a right onto Highway 14 and drive for about 11 miles. After crossing the Klickitat River take an immediate left onto Highway 142, and then another left into the parking area for the well marked Lyle Trailhead.
From the trailhead follow the path that enters into a treelined gravel trail. You will see a few houses to your left and Highway 142 will be very close on your right. A fair warning here, being so close to the highway there are a LOT of dead animals that have been hit by cars. Some are caught in the bushes, some have fallen in the trail. The smell was pretty awful in a few sections for the first 1/2 mile or so. It’s not pleasant but it definitely wasn’t bad enough for us to want to leave.
This trail has mile markers which come in handy. For the first mile you’ll pass by a few houses and have a little road noise (the highway isn’t very busy). You are above the Klickitat Gorge and will get a few views. There are a lot of birds and small wildlife to see as well. It’s not the most interesting trail but it’s pretty. Right after the first mile marker there is a trail to the left that takes you down into the gorge. We recommend going, it gives you the best views of the gorge and river. The trail heads downhill and you will soon start to see a lot of fishermen, we easily saw over 20 people fishing from the rocks. The trail goes on for over a quarter mile and eventually comes to an area of the gorge rocks that are flat that you can walk out on. You can also see the bridge off in the distance. You can continue on the side trail for a while longer but it doesn’t connect to the main trail. So, head back the way you came to get back on the main trail.
Once you’re on the main trail again keep going for over a half mile and you will come to the Fisher Hill Bridge. It’s an old train bridge that has been converted into a pedestrian bridge. The bridge gives you nice views of the gorge and the surrounding hills. This is the turn around point for this section, head back out the way you came in.
Distance: 4 miles
Elevation: 65 feet
Pet Friendly: Yes
Good For: All ages
Bathrooms: Yes at the parking area.
Parking Fee: None
Seasons: Almost all, this trail does close during high fire danger times.
Overall: It’s not the most exciting hike but the Klickitat Gorge is beautiful and the trail is very well maintained making it accessible to many people. Plus, we’re birders and there were a lot of interesting birds to see 🙂