This lesser-known and unmarked trail leads visitors through scrub oak forests, sweeping wildflower meadows, and along picturesque ridges with expansive views down the Columbia River Gorge. This 515-acre property was donated in 2009 to “Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust” by the organization's founder, Nancy Russell. The parcel runs east from the town of Lyle to a high ridge and plateau that overlooks the Columbia River. The land was originally established as a cherry orchard, and several trees still remain.
The trailhead leads through several dense thickets before the area opens up and begins to climb along several switchbacks to another ridge of scrub oaks and grassy meadows that leads to the orchard and grassy summit. The final stretch of the trail passes through dense scrub forest and finally to a large meadow that was once the orchard, and it finishes with an incredible gorge view. The few remaining cherry trees can be viewed toward the eastern edge of this field. Be cautious of the poison oak that is scattered along the entire trail, as well as the occasional rattlesnake (one unlucky hiker was airlifted out after a bite on the day of this adventure). It would also be a good idea to check for ticks once you finish.
The Columbia Gorge is a magnificent place like nowhere else in the world. While it attracts nature lovers, it also attracts private development. But time and again, ordinary people have taken extraordinary steps to protect this place, making a difference that we all enjoy today. The places we love would not be what they are today, had people not protected them when they had the chance.
Today we have the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of those who came before us and leave our own legacy with the preservation of seven properties - 420 acres of magnificent Gorge land. Together, we can preserve the beautiful views, protect wildlife, and provide more places for people to take solace in nature.
Please join us! Create your legacy by making a generous donation to the Preserve the Wonder campaign.