Lyle Cherry Orchard
The Lyle Cherry Orchard Trail starts at the east end of the parking area, against the rocks. The trail starts climbing immediately. About 1/8 of a mile up, you will come to a sign-in box and trailhead sign. This land is owned by Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust.
The trail continues to climb up a small draw. After about a mile, the trail splits: the westward trail takes you to a beautiful bench, and the eastward trail leads you up a steep climb with switchback to the cherry orchard and summit. This trail passes a seasonal pond, then comes to the dirt road. Turn right and pass an old homestead site and grassy area. Not many trees have survived in the orchard, but some can be found at the eastern edge of the property.
Watch out for ticks in late winter and early spring!
This 515-acre parcel of land in the eastern Gorge showcases the cake-layered basalt walls carved by the Ice Age Floods. Friends’ founder Nancy Russell was drawn to its beauty and purchased several properties that today comprise the entire Orchard property. Nancy named the property for an old abandoned cherry orchard at the top of the eastern boundary. The land is also home to remnants of Convict Road, an effort by Sam Hill to build the Columbia River Highway on the Washington side of the Gorge. When the Washington legislature showed no interest, he invited the entire Oregon legislature to his Maryhill estate to see his “Good Roads” work and Oregon quickly agreed to build the now Historic Columbia River Highway. Nancy Russell donated the properties to Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust upon her death to preserve this trail and scenic landscape.