Monday, June 30, 2014

Wrapping Up our Stay in White Salmon, WA

What a great week we've had in the Columbia River Gorge! We've visited the area in the past and had already hiked many of the waterfalls and visited sights on the West end of the Gorge so this time we focused our attention on the Eastern end and mostly the Washington side.

One benefit to this focus area was the ability to avoid wet weather. When scattered showers were predicted in White Salmon, we just drove a few miles East and had blue skies with a smattering of puffy white clouds...perfect!

On one of those potentially rainy days we checked out the Klickitat Trail, just 10 miles East of us in the sunny little hamlet of Lyle, WA. This 31 mile Rails to Trails path includes 10 miles along the Wild and Scenic Klickitat River. (This excellent link details each section of the trail.) We chose to start our hike at the Fisher Hill Bridge.

We walked about three miles up river before turning back and were pleasantly surprised by this trail. After the first half mile the trail changed from wide gravel rail bed to single track, often hardly looking like a rail bed at all. Judging by the number of fishermen, the fishing may be pretty good. There will be a blackberry explosion here in a month or so, I'd love to return with a big bucket!

The Klickitat River flows through a deep gorge at the Fisher Hill Bridge.

What is that strange contraption on the far bank?

It's a screw trap used to trap young fish for tabulation purposes.
Salmon and lamprey run in these waters.

Doesn't look like your typical Rails to Trails trail does it?

On our last full day we had sunny skies and a good bit of wind making it a perfect day to check out the wind water sports this area is known for. I don't know if this was a typical summer Sunday, but the "beach" was crowded and we spent a good long time watching folks windsurfing and kitesurfing, marveling at the strength it takes to operate these devices and the amount of time and effort it must take to get good at these sports.

The shore was a riot of colorful sails.

The beach is a spit of sand in the Columbia River.

This structure seemed to be for large boats to tie up...but this little monkey scaled it easily...

...and fearlessly jumped off to much fanfare from the onlookers.

The beach above was adjacent to Hood River's Waterfront Park. Though not as fully developed as Bend's Mill District, there was a riverfront walking path, a unique kids playground, concert lawn, a restaurant and Pfriem Family Brewpub, where we stopped for a delicious pint.

Pfriem Family Brewers.

Bridge RV Park has been a good location for our week, though the noisy highway 14 right outside the park is a big turn off. If we were to return we'd request a site on the back row, furthest from the highway, but closest to the train tracks. The other problem with this park is it is impossible to walk anywhere unless you want to walk on the highway. The park is right on the Columbia River, and there is a tiny path through a massive blackberry patch to access the river.

River access path from the RV park.
In a month or so you'll want to walk this trail with a big bucket for blackberries!

View of the bridge connecting Hood River and White Salmon from the RV park river access point.

Though there are no cherry trees in the RV park, there are lots of cherry pits on the ground;
this is how they arrive!

We enjoyed watching the bald eagle nest right outside the RV park,
and even caught the whole family hanging out together!

Today we move on to Portland for a week where we'll catch up with friends and hunker down for the holiday weekend.


  1. Although I did not bring a bucket when we hiked the Klickitat Trail in October I did enjoy munching those blackberries by the handful as we hiked along. So that contraption is still on the river.

    Oh wow you had Bald Eagles on the campground,they were not there during our stay.
    I did not have a good experience at the reception when we got there at Bridge RV Park. Not sure if the owners or receptionist are the same, but I was glared at when she noticed Steve pulling further beyond the Stop sign. And that set the tone during our week stay, it was not unpleasant, its just that I avoided the lady or the office entirely. But of course we had a great time at the gorge.

    Beautiful pictures bringing good memories at gorgeous gorge.

    1. I would so love to hit this area when the wild berries are ripe! As well as when the bulk of the summer fruit orchard are going off! I think as we head into the Olympic Peninsula we'll hit prime fruit season...YAY!

      They sure had a LOT of rules signs around the park, didn't they! I thought the place was very pretty and they did a decent job of shoehorning in a lot of rigs...but that highway noise and lack of walking areas was a real bummer for me. I'd only stay here again if I really needed to be right in this area. I'd probably check out the park Hector and Brenda stayed at a bit West of White Salmon...

  2. What a beautiful Rails-to-Trails path! We'll check it out next time we're in the gorge -- it actually looks a lot like the Deschutes River trail (also Rails-To-Trails) on the Oregon side (near Rufus). We enjoyed biking that trail last June, and it was nice to cool off in the river mid-ride. (That's where we saw the otter family.) Access is from the Deschutes River Recreation Area -- we're planning to stay there next time. It's a very pretty campground.

  3. Sounds like great week! Neat but different rail trail. Have fun in Portland!!

  4. Great Gorge picts, Lisa... those folks know how to have fun with those sails in that water don't they? We were there last year and really enjoyed all that area up and down the Gorge.

    Maynard (

  5. What fabulous pictures! That first one is really terrific. I assume the rails to trails could also be biked? By other than mountain bikes?? Really looks like a great area to visit. Is there no where else you could have camped. Stuck between a highway and a train track sounds iffy. But it looks like you had a great time none the less.

    1. You would need a bike with tires that could handle rough conditions, the gravel was pretty large and rough and rather inconsistent.

      There are other campgrounds but they were all further from the area we wanted to be in...but yes, a great time was had despite the noise!

  6. The trail looks wonderful - love the narrow gorge. That dragonfly looked very unique - or maybe it was just the log he was on :-). The eagles are a real treat, thanks for sharing them.

  7. Looks like a great trail! It was good to see your view from the Washington side. We stayed on the Oregon side last fall and would love to go back for some exploring on the "dry" side. Seems like there is an endless variety of things to do in that area.

  8. Thanks Lisa...I do hope we get to Oregon and Washington soon...maybe next year. It is beautiful thru your lens. I like your hikes too!
    The bird with the cherry pit is so cute! And what an honor to share space with a family of eagles!
    Safe travels to Portland...enjoy!

  9. Looks like folks sure know how to enjoy time on the river. Good to know there's a dry side and a wet side. Happy trails to Portland :-)

  10. What a great Rails-to-Trails path! I am thinking the Pacific Northwest may be my favorite part of this country. That is quite the unusual beach, running right out into the river. Kitesurfing seems to be a very popular sport. When we traveled the Outer Banks, there were dozens of them out having fun. Enjoy your time in Portland. :)

  11. Thanks for reminding us that we need to get back to the Oregon coast - perhaps this fall.

    1. We will be along the Northern OR coast in early Sept..perhaps our paths will cross once again!