The DNR Fire Hazard for Eastern Klickitat County has been raised to High. This means that the Swale Canyon section of the Klickitat Trail from Wahkiakus to Harms Road is now closed until late October, whenever the hazard rating goes down to Moderate. Meanwhile, the rest of the Trail is open year around.
Biking the trail can be an exhilarating experience. The scenery is incredible, but in many places the trail is also incredibly rough. The trail surface is quite variable. The following information relates to trail runners as well.
- 70% is mixed rocks and dirt but with a clear route through
- 15% is nice dirt
- 10% is RR ballast
- 5% is rolled gravel
- Nice smooth rolled pea gravel is just in two short sections:
from Lyle to Fisher Hill bridge (about 1.7 miles) and in the town of Klickitat (0.5 miles).
- No sections are paved, just the trailhead at Lyle. Mostly the trail is dry rather than mud holes, except a day or two after rain. Some sections are grassy or smooth dirt like a single track.
- Many sections are mixed rock, dirt and plants; but the vegetation is cleared away from the path. A couple sections are almost pure railroad ballast, which is the 3 or 4 inch rock that is packed around the rail and ties on a railroad. But the ballast rock is kind of packed down, so it is not too bad.
- There may be 2 or 3 miles max of that. There are no sections that are nasty jumbled bigger rocks, or eroded dirt piles, etc.
- Remember, it is a railroad bed, so there is a very uniform and gentle grade throughout.
- If you want to do a through run, notice that just east of the town of Klickitat the RR Trestle is washed out. Be sure to see our directions under the heading Wahkiakus on our map. You have to leave the Trail, go to SR 142 and run 3 miles on the paved road to get into Klickitat. From there, the trail goes right on through to Lyle.
Biking Tips for the Klickitat Trail
Photo: Ashleigh Coyner