Hop aboard for an early-season wildflower bloom amid remote terrain and open air. At a healthy clip or a slow meander, this rail trail is fun at any speed!
Purchased by the Rails to Trails Conservancy in the early 1990s and then donated to Washington State Parks, this rail trail almost didn’t happen. Land-use conflicts stalled the project, but the trail opened to the public soon after the creation of the Klickitat Trail Conservancy. Currently, the U.S. Forest Service, Washington State Parks and the Klickitat Trail Conservancy cooperatively manage this trail.
The Klickitat Trail runs 31 miles, with multiple access points placed in unique areas, from grass plains and the rugged Swale Canyon along the Wild and Scenic Klickitat River, to oak-filled valleys dropping down to Lyle and the Klickitat’s mouth at the Columbia River. Bring your sense of adventure, as you’ll cross old railroad trestles, encounter some very large cows, and stumble across a strange mixture of artifacts, from discarded equipment and railroad spikes to bleached white animal skulls.
What sets this rails-to-trails selection apart from others in the state is its unique landscape and the quickness in which that landscape changes from mile to mile along the way. You can find native grassland openings, endless rolling hills of gold flowers and sprinklings of purple larkspur. Although you pass in close proximity to private property in a few places, where a denser vegetation of dogwood, pine and various deciduous trees is thick, you quickly feel far removed, as the trail opens and falls in sync with the remote sections of the Klickitat River.
Listen for the variety of songbirds, and watch the hills on either side for deer, grouse, marmots and turkeys. Many ponds can be found in certain areas, brimming with amphibians, turtles and red-winged blackbirds gliding from the cattails. From north to south, and anywhere in between, the Klickitat Trail will delight any hiker.
Klickitat Rail Trail
- 31.0 miles, one-way
- Elevation Gain
- 200 feet
- Highest Point
- 1,550 feet
Hiking Klickitat Rail Trail
Klickitat Rail Trail
Map & Directions
Co-ordinates: 45.6972, -121.2898 Open in Google Maps