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Klickitat Trail gets vital link

Posted by Susan Elderkin at Jan 13, 2011 11:03 AM |

Washington State Parks has completed decking on the Klickitat Trail in the Columbia River Gorge, giving hikers one more reason to take this excellent winter hike.

Hiking on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge gained an important new link last week, courtesy of Washington State Parks. The agency has completed decking of a high Fisher Hill trestle over the Klickitat River, providing improved access for hikers, bikers and equestrians.

The Klickitat Trail - a 31-mile rail-trail conversion along the Klickitat River and Swale Canyon - is an excellent place to hike in every season. Winter is certainly no exception. Right now, salmon are spawning in the lower Klickitat River, which means that the place is full of feasting bald eagles. The Klickitat River is federally designated as a Wild and Scenic River, so the views are pretty great too.

Because the Klicktat Trail is along an abandoned railroad bed, numerous trestles have had to be "decked" for the safety and travel of users. With the completion of the Fisher Hill decking (which previously required a short detour), the 13-mile stretch of trail from Lyle to the hamlet of Klickitat is complete. The 13-mile segment along Swale Canyon still has a few trestles that are not decked but can be carefully walked across. 

Also new to the Klickitat Trail - an official trailhead in the town of Lyle, right on Highway 14. It is 1.5 miles up to the Fisher Hill trestle, on a gentle and paved grade - perfect for an afternoon walk or for families. More adventuresome travelers with two cars can plan to hike whole segments.

For more information, please see our Hiking Guide, the Klickitat Trail Conservancy website (good maps) and an excellent Trip Report from "Sunrise Creek" from last weekend. She not only saw spawning salmon and eagles, but also wild turkeys and California quail.