LYLE, Wash. — At 6.5 miles and 1,250 vertical feet, the Lyle Cherry Orchard Trail is a stiff price to pay for the average spring flower-hunter. It’s not just a tough set of lunges. It’s often deafeningly windy, sometimes terrifyingly narrow and beset on all sides by enough poison oak to ruin shorts season.

If only the Columbia River Gorge didn’t exist, I would have written this off as a punishing slog. You simply cannot complain, however, when you are treated to near-constant stunning vistas of one of the most important river passages in the world.


Rock pillars adorn trail as a reminder that much of the landscape had been rendered apart violently by ancient flooding.


After the first mile or so, you can give your quads a break with a spur that overlooks the Oregon side of the Columbia, and Lyle, Washington (not pictured).

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Jeremy Dickman is a local attorney and longtime Central Oregon resident who loves dragging his two kids into character-building weekend nature marches.

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