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Lyle Cherry Orchard Hike

From Portland Hikers Field Guide

Lyle Trailhead sign (Steve Hart)
Cherry trees in bloom (Steve Hart)
The second seasonal pond (Steve Hart)
Panicled Death Camas on the climb up to the Lyle Bench (Steve Hart)
Poison Oak
Snakes
Ticks

Contents

Hike Description

The lower portion of the Lyle Cherry Orchard Trail has recently been completely rebuilt. The new trail starts from the same trailhead, but it starts at the far east edge of the little valley, right against the rocks.

The trail immediately begins climbing through a scrub oak forest, completely filled with poison oak. You'll cross the old trail for the first of many times. In about 1/8 of a mile the trail comes to the remains of Highway 8, a predecessor of today's Highway 14. Follow the road to the left. You'll come to a beautiful trailhead sign at the western edge of the tiny valley. Just behind the sign is a metal box of releases. This is private land, but the landowner has generously agreed to allow hikers with a signed release. The release simply says that each hiker assumes all risks from hiking on the property and that the landowner isn't responsible for any injuries or problems. The hikers also agree to not start a fire.

The new trail leaves the old road and starts up a little draw. Poison oak is common throughout the hike and this area is no exception. The new alignment hooks around the valley and slabs up the eastern edge of the valley. The new alignment isn't nearly as steep as the old route and it's a lot easier going up or down. It passes through flowered grassy places and open rocky areas. It crosses the old trail several times, but hikers should stay on the new grade to allow the old route to recover. After almost a mile, there's a side trail, heading west into a large flat area that we've called the Lyle Bench. There's a great view of the town of Lyle from the west end of the bench.

The new trail alignment ends here and the rest of the hike is on the familiar trail. It slabs across the hill toward the east, climbing more steeply. There's a fence stile in another 1/10 of a mile, somewhat hidden in the trees. The views of the Columbia River Gorge get really good as the trail switchbacks higher. The summit of the trail is about 1.3 miles from the trailhead. From here, things are dramatically easier.

The trail works its way east, with slight ups and downs through scrub oak forest. At mile 1.5 is a small, seasonal pond that's just packed with butterflies in the early spring and there's a narrower stile at mile 1.7. At about mileage 2.4, you'll come to an old dirt road. Turn right here and you'll pass through what may be an old homestead site at the edge of a grassy area. This is the Lyle Cherry Orchard. The surviving trees are on the eastern edge of the clearing. Only one is visible from the place where you enter the meadow, but if you walk to that one, the others are plainly visible.

A lot has happened in the world since these trees were planted. Hidden away on this hill, the world has pretty much passed them by. Plan on spending a little time with the old girls. They're old and frail, but they're not quite done yet.

Maps

Regulations or restrictions, etc

  • A free, signed release is available onsite and required.
  • No fires
  • Day use only

Trip Reports

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Related Discussions / Q&A

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Guidebooks that cover this hike

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Contributors

Portland Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.