Klickitat State Park Trail

Pump up your bike tires, lace up your hiking boots and set out on Washington’s southernmost rail-trail.

The Klickitat Trail runs 31 miles through stunning Columbia River Gorge country between Lyle and the Goldendale plateau. As it leaves the Columbia to follow the Klickitat River, the gentle trail leads cyclists, hikers, birders and, in some places, equestrians through dramatic Swale Canyon.

The canyon, carpeted with desert parsley, has oak and pine forests, and in spring, the hillsides bloom with lupine and  balsamroot. Several spots along bubbling Swale Creek make idyllic lunch stops. East of Swale Canyon, visitors see rustic farms, open fields and occasional grazing cows. 

This trail will appeal to railroad buffs, as it runs along the historic rail bed of the Spokane, Portland, Seattle Railway (SP&S). Later owned by Burlington Northern, this part of the rail line was sold in 1993 to the Rails-To-Trails Conservancy, which, in turn, gifted the trail to State Parks in 1994.

Whether you’re on foot or two wheels, you’ll find inspiration and a solid workout on this exquisite stretch of trail. 

Park features


The Klickitat trail can be accessed from several points. Long distance hiking and biking requires planning and preparation, including the 10 essentials, repair kits for bikes and their tires, first aid supplies, extra food, water and shoelaces, and a headlamp in case the trip is slowed by equipment failures or health issues. Please check with the park for closures and detours, as parts of this trail are still under development. When doing the entire trail, a car shuttle is recommended. Please watch for ticks and rattlesnakes. 

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  1. Trailheads
  2. Activities
  3. History

The Klickitat Trail is accessible by the following five official trailheads:

Lyle

(State Road 14 and SR142)
Turn north on SR142 on the east side of the Klickitat River at the west end of town. The trailhead is on the left. From the trailhead, proceed north parallel to SR142. The surface is improved for 1.5 miles to the Fisher Hill Trestle. While this segment is open to horse use, most local equestrians recommend horse use from Pitt south to the Fisher Hill Trestle and back for about a 16 mile round trip.

Pitt


Park across the street from the row of houses adjacent to this access. Going west, pass through or around the double gates to get to the trail. Going northeast, simply walk the gravel road base just south of the highway for 100 yards until the trail curves left under the cliff. This area is a popular drift boat takeout during salmon and steel head seasons as well as with local equestrian users of the trail.

Klickitat


The community park abuts the trail one block south and across SR142 from the gas station. The trailhead is the location of the former railroad station in town. Going south from here is the current option. The trail  north is currently unusable to the bridge out in Suburbia just north of town. 

Wahkiacus


This trailhead is the lower entrance to Swale Canyon. Approximately 3 miles north of Klickitat, along SR142, turn right and take the Horseshoe Bend Road, and cross the Klickitat River bridge. Follow the road a few hundred yards east until it intersects with Schilling Road. Turn right onto Schilling Road—the parking area is on the immediate right. A portable toilet is located in the parking area. Going west toward Klickitat is a pretty 3-mile hike along the river with no houses or roads. Visitors will then encounter the washed-out trestle and will need to return the same way they came. Bicyclists passing through from Swale Canyon should turn north at this parking lot, proceed a few yards to Horseshoe Bend Road, turn left and cross the bridge over the Klickitat River. Then turn left again onto paved SR142 and reconnect with the trail 3 miles later in the town of Klickitat. Going east from Wahkiacus, the route is scenic and very easy walking. A very pleasant in-and-out walk is a great option here. It is the lower entrance to Swale Canyon.

Harms Road

Get on the Centerville Highway from Lyle by turning north on Glenwood Avenue between the gas station and cafe ½ mile east of the Klickitat River Bridge. Travel approximately 15 miles northeast from Lyle. Look on the left for Harms Road. This gravel county road heads north and is signed. Go north for ½ mile, cross the Swale Creek Bridge and park on the shoulder of the county road. Going west from here leads to the beautiful Swale Canyon. Due to its remoteness and lack of communication services, it is not recommended to travel this section of trail alone. Cell phones do not work in this area. Going east from here is pleasant and only 2 miles before the end of the Trail at Uecker Road. The public toilet here is available from Oct. 2 – June 30.