“A rails-to-trails conversion that follows the Klickitat River.”
— Bert Hui
Although overall very rocky, the trail is very flat and rarely technical. A great place for the budding mountain biker to practice riding on bumpy terrain.
This is just the first half of the otherwise 31 miles one can ride for the Klickitat Trail. The trailhead starts in the town of Lyle, WA directly off of Highway 14. A PDF detailing the full trail can be found here.
At 2.5 miles in, a very serene cascading waterfall runs.
The doubletrack gravel road begins to slowly morph into tame singletrack a little after the three mile mark. Although the trail is very flat and lacks any substantial obstacles, it is quite bumpy in several stretches. The abundant Columbia River Basalt is ever-present along the trail, making for a ride that is rocky, but not overwhelmingly so. Eventually the trail morphs back into doubletrack, save for a few short stretches of fun singletrack before it reaches the town of Klickitat.
The trail can be very beautiful to experience in the spring, as the hills come alive with a vibrant green and the rapids of the Klickitat River swell with snowmelt. It can also be pleasant in the warmer months, as the trail traverses underneath both open sky and forest canopy.
One great rest stop is about 4 miles in where you can easily hop off your bike and move towards the river where a small sandbar is. You can dip your feet in the water here (very shallow) and continue on your way. Great on a hot summer day.
This route terminates at the town of Klickitat. A washed out bridge a mile east of Klickitat formerly connected the entirety of the 31 mile trail, however now one must ride on State Road 142 for about 3 miles to reach the Wahkiacus Trailhead. Be mindful of this if you intend to ride east of the town of Klickitat.
Make no mistake—this is a "rails to trails" path, and so more advanced mountain bikers may not find much joy in this trail, but it is extremely serene. Those more interested in just getting in some miles when the other trails are wet and muddy could definitely enjoy this trail which can be seen as more fun and engaging than the other nearby rail to trail, the Deschutes River Trail.