Type of HikeDay hike
Wow!!!! Guidebook author Craig Romano, WTA's Susan Elderkin and I hiked the Lyle Cherry Orchard within the Columbia River National Scenic Area on Sunday. This stunning trail will be included in Craig's upcoming guidebook on the Columbia Gorge hikes. The trailhead is not signed, rather it's a gravel parking lot a mile or so east of the tunnels on 114 (east of Lyle). Don't freak about about the first 50 vertical - it becomes reasonable after that first thrust. Death camas in all it's glory are blooming now, and acres & acres of woodland star. Silvery-trunked and lichen draped garry oak stud the emerald green slopes. The re-graded and re-routed trail makes nice, sweeping switchbacks before starting a fairly steep ascent. This portion is not suitable for children - the trail sidehills on a very steep slope with a long, long drop. Locoweed and balsamroot have just started to bloom here. The trail flattens and enters an idyllic garry oak forest - Vancouverites and Portlanders might think we;re silly, but this garry oak forest was a delight to us. We're not used to it! Lots of grass widow, larkspur, glacier lilies and shooting star are blooming here. In several places all these flowers are blooming together, making quite a pretty show. The trail meets an old abandoned road; turn right and continue a short ways to the orchard site. Long gone, but a few old, gnarled snags remain - still partially alive and budding! Unobstructed views of the Columbia to the east, more gorgeous green slopes - well....you'll just have to go and see for yourself. This trail is something to remember. Please visit, and marvel at the open slopes, the lichen encrusted basalt, and the Columbia River.