Spring · Views · Wildflowers
Need to Know
No toilet at trailhead. But very close to the town of Lyle.
From the parking area, the trail begins next to a tall rock pillar, and immediately begins climbing through scrub oaks. Poison oak frequently borders the trail here and elsewhere on the hike.
In about 0.1 mile, the trail intersects the Lyle Convict Road, a would-be north bank highway started in 1910 (and abandoned in 1911), built by imprisoned men whose work camp was just west of here. The road was the idea of Sam Hill, whose vast properties in nearby Maryhill warrant a day's worth of investigations.
Hill's futile efforts to persuade the Washington legislature to fund a river road running east from Vancouver resulted in his attention turning towards Oregon. There, his vision found more fertile ground. The result is the Historic Columbia River Highway.
Clean your boots on the boot brush, to avoid bringing invasive weed seeds onto the property. Since 2015, volunteers and land trust staff have been working to eradicate invasive yellow starthistle here.
On the main trail, keep climbing. Notice the round river pebbles on the trail. They were deposited by the Missoula Floods. As water repeatedly breached glacial ice dams in western Montana 12,000 to 17,000 years ago, glacial outburst floods resulted.
These walls of water roared westward along the route of the Columbia River, scouring hillsides into cliffs. At this point in the river, the Rowena Gap, the narrower channel created a hydraulic dam at which floodwaters backed up, reaching 1,000 feet deep.
In about 0.8 mile, a wide, level bench extends west of the trail. For interesting views of Lyle, its football field, neighborhoods, and riverfront, follow a side trail across this bench to its west end.
Back on the main trail, the already great views get even better. The trail's summit is about 1.3 miles from the start. From there, continue on a gentler grade through oak woodlands. Continue up a steep climb involving switchbacks and pass a seasonal pond.
You'll reach a dirt road at about the 2.4-mile mark. Turn right, but before you do, clean your boots again on the boot brush to prevent yellow starthistle from hitch-hiking a ride into the Lyl
Shared By: Dallas Dick