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Trail Guidelines

Trail Guidelines

Swale Canyon section of the Klickitat Trail is CLOSED for the Summer season.  The section affected is from the Wahkiakus trailhead to Harms Road trailhead.  It is closed due to the potential hazard of either a person getting trapped in Swale Canyon during a fire, or of a person causing a fire there. This annual temporary closure is based upon Washington State Dept of Natural Resources fire hazard ratings for Klickitat County.  Currently, the rating is “High”.

As always, Swale Canyon will be opened again in the Fall when the hazard returns to “Moderate”, which usually happens mid-October.

The other 18 miles of the Trail always stay open all year around.  This includes the 2.5 mile section West of Wahkiakus, where it is very nice along the Klickitat River.  Also open is the 2.5 mile section East of Harms Road, which goes through rolling farm land. 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.

Following these guidelines will help take care of the  Klickitat Trail, help reduce hassles that you might have, and will greatly increase the respect afforded to those of us who use the Klickitat Trail, as well as adjacent property owners.

  • KTC does not allow smoking or pets on KTC-sponsored outings.
  • Handicapped access: In general motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trail but certain exceptions are made for some kinds of mobility assistance devices for people with registered disability permits.  Since none of the trail is paved yet, these may be difficult to use on the trail surface.  The best places to try would be where the trail is packed gravel, from Lyle to the Fisher hill Rd. (about 2 miles), and in the town of Klickitat.
  • There is a lot of poison oak along the edges of the trail, and there are plenty of ticks and some rattlesnakes.  Ticks are common all over the Gorge.  Even parts of the Hood River area have ticks. Hikers need to be aware and vigilant about checking themselves.
  • Protect your dog! Use that leash!  Washington State Parks rules clearly state pets must be on a leash at all times.
  • No littering, removing, or disturbing plant life or other natural or historic resources.
  • No camping, hunting or building of fires allowed.
  • If you encounter harassing property owners, remain calm. Note carefully where and when the incident is occurring and try to get any identification of the person. State clearly that Washington State Parks owns the property, and has given permission for the public to use it. Avoid arguments and proceed on your way, unless it does not feel safe to do so. As soon as you can, report the incident to the Klickitat County Sheriff’s office at (509) 773-4545 or (509) 773-4547.
  • Stay on the rail bed. That is your only assurance that you are not trespassing. The Trail gives no one any right to go onto adjacent property whatsoever. There are portable toilets at Lyle, Pitt, Wahkiakus, and Harms Rd.
  • Help us protect wildlife inhabitants, flora, and fauna within the right of way by remembering the Trail is not a pet exercise area. For instance, there are ground nesting birds, and certainly, there is going to be a new born fawn “hiding” somewhere out there in the high grass.
  • Be careful of any free-ranging cattle especially between Pitt and Fisher Hill Bridge.
  • Leave any gates open or closed, just as you find them.
  • Pack for safety.  Be prepared for your trail adventures!  Bring your own first aid kit and individualize it for personal health concerns such as allergies or prescriptions.
  • Please pick up any litter that you see.
  • Pass KTC’s name on to others you meet on the Trail so our direct support base can grow.
  • Due to its remoteness and lack of communication services, it is not recommended to travel the beautiful Swale Canyon section of the trail alone.  Cell phones do not work in this area.
  • Note: You use the Klickitat Trail at your own risk
  • We always welcome feedback about the trail.