Welcome to the Klickitat Trail Conservancy (KTC), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the 31-mile Klickitat Trail, a rail trail in Washington state, in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge.
The Klickitat Trail, a non-motorized multiple use trail, follows the first 31 miles of an old railroad corridor that once linked the towns of Lyle and Goldendale. It is unique among rail trails. Nowhere else is there a rail trail that starts in one of the nation’s only National Scenic Areas, winds along a nationally designated Wild & Scenic River, and finishes by going through a remote, beautiful tributary canyon.
Each year, the Swale Canyon section of the Klickitat Trail closes temporarily due to the risk of fire danger. This year the temporary closure has arrived early. Currently, the fire rating in Klickitat County is rated “High”, triggering the annual temporary closure of the Swale Canyon section of the Klickitat Trail. To view the fire danger ratings for counties in Washington, visit Washington DNR at this link. Other than the Swale Canyon section, the Klickitat Trail is open for your recreational pleasure.
The Wahkiacus bridge across the Klickitat River on Horseshoe Bend Rd., 3 miles north of Klickitat, will be closed for repair from June 10, 2019 until around October 1, 2019. This means there will be no easy direct access to KTC’s Wahkiacus Trailhead until October. Also, Schilling Rd. will be one-way coming down to Wahkiacus and Horseshoe Bend Rd. will be one-way going up, for access from the Centerville Hwy. Visit KTC’s access page for alternative access points.
This recognition award by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission would not have been possible without the generous and loyal support of KTC’s members. It is member support that keeps us going, enables us to work on the Klickitat Trail, and encourages us to work with Washington State Parks and the U.S. Forest Service to advocate for needed improvements. KTC thanks you for your ongoing support!
The gently graded trail starts at a trailhead with lovely river views in Lyle, Washington, at the confluence of the Klickitat and Columbia Rivers, follows the nationally designated Wild and Scenic Klickitat River 13 miles through oaks and pines to the old mill town of Klickitat, and then after a few more miles at the Wahkiacus trailhead, turns up Swale Creek and into the remote and beautiful Swale Canyon, ending in the high, open ranch country of the Goldendale Plateau.
The trail’s spectacular scenery includes carved gorges, interesting geologic formations, abundant wildflowers, rolling hills, oak and Ponderosa Pine woodlands. There are great birding opportunities, including winter habitat for bald eagles near the Lyle trailhead.
Currently the trail is unpaved, with a packed fine gravel surface for the first 2 miles from Lyle to the Fisher Hill Trestle and also through the town of Klickitat. The rest is primitive, with dirt and larger gravel, suitable for hiking and mountain biking. The first 13 miles — between Lyle and Klickitat — can also be used by equestrians, but the rest of the trail, with many trestles, is not yet horse-ready.
In season, the entire trail is also good for cross-country skiing. A missing trestle a mile north of Klickitat prevents through use in this section, so those wanting to hike or bike the entire trail need to use Hwy 142 for the 3+ miles between the town of Klickitat and the Wahkiacus trailhead. The 2+ mile section of trail going from Wahkiacus toward Klickitat is a lovely hike, but dead-ends at the missing trestle.
Most of the land adjacent to the trail is private and it is very important to respect private property by staying on the trail and keeping your dogs leashed and on the trail. Dogs are permitted on leash only. Adjacent landowners have poultry and livestock and there is open-range grazing of cattle and sheep, especially in the section from the Fisher Hill Trestle to Pitt and in the Harms Rd. area. Also, rattle snakes, ticks, and poison oak can be hazards to dogs and people alike everywhere along the trail.
There is a bathroom with running water and a drinking fountain at the Lyle trailhead available in warmer weather, and an outhouse there in winter. Outhouses are also provided at the Pitt, Wahkiacus, and Harms Rd. trailheads. The entire 31 miles of the Klickitat Trail is open for your recreational enjoyment most of the year.
Copyright © Klickitat Trail Conservancy (KTC) All rights reserved
…last updated 6/17/2019…