Angel's Rest
Western Gorge, Oregon
Hikers on top of Angel's Rest (Friends' archive)
alert Trail Alert, Jul 2, 2020: This high-traffic trail remains closed to the public due to the social distancing measures enacted by local and state health officials. The most current closure information can be found at ReadySetGorge.com.
Hike Details
Type:
Out and back
Distance:
5 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:
1500 feet
Difficulty:
Moderate
Trail Features
Family Friendly:
Yes
Restrooms:
No
Trailhead Pass:
No
Trail Details
Beautiful ViewsIce Age FloodsIce Age Floods
This hike is a winding trail (#415) on the western end of the Columbia River Gorge that takes you up to great views. It starts at about river level and quickly climbs up through trees and then over boulders before rising to a bluff above the river.  From the top, you'll get a spectacular 270 degree view of the Gorge, including many landmarks like Beacon Rock and Silver Star Mountain.
 
Note: Dogs must be on-leash since this is a heavy use area.
 
– Hike descriptions were collaboratively written with the generous support of oregonhikers.org.

Driving Directions

Angels Rest Trailhead: From the west, take I-84 east to Exit #28/Bridal Veil. Follow the road to the stop sign and turn right onto the Historic Columbia River Hwy. The parking lot is immediately on right. No parking pass required. From the east, take I-84 west to Exit #35/Ainsworth State Park. Follow the Historic Columbia River Highway for 7.1 miles to the Angel's Rest Trailhead and the parking area is on your right. No parking pass required.

Community Connection

Lyle Cherry Orchard’s trailhead is located approximately one mile from the Gorge town of Lyle and is home to the “Lyle” sign that sits above the community. Since this preserve was opened to the public the Lyle Cherry Orchard has provided the community with an accessible natural space right in their back yard. The sunny and dry preserve is the perfect hiking spot to visit during the rainier fall days in the western gorge. Visitors from the Gorge and beyond recreate on Lyle Cherry Orchard and in turn support the local economy.

Photo: View of town of Lyle from Lyle Cherry Orchard (Debbie Asakawa)

Preserve Story

The property where Lyle Cherry Orchard Preserve lies currently was once grazing land for cattle and as the name suggests the eastern part of the preserve held a cherry orchard. The orchard and its trees were well abandoned by the time Nancy Russell purchased the property piece by piece in the 1990’s and later donated it to Friends in 2009. Nancy purchased the property when it came up for sale because it was within key viewing areas on the Oregon side of the Gorge and would have most likely become subdivided for development.

The land is also home to remnants of Lyle Convict Road, a demonstration road built by Sam Hill to convince Washington legislators to fund a Columbia River Highway. When Washington showed no interest in Sam’s project, he invited the entire Oregon legislature to his Maryhill estate to see his "Good Roads" work and Oregon quickly agreed to build on their side of the river what is today the Historic Columbia River Highway.

The trail at Lyle Cherry Orchard was started in when Friends' founder Nancy Russell purchased the property and has been open to the public and maintained Friends and its land trust ever since. In 2019, Washington Trails Association started work to reroute some parts of the trail and add new trail to explore for the benefit of Gorge residents.

In 2013, the land trust and volunteers removed a dilapidated house and outbuildings on the southwestern end of the property. Countless hours were spent removing building materials, old vehicles, garbage, and debris. In 2015 volunteers removed over 1,700 feet of fencing material on the property to allow for the free movement of wildlife across the landscape. Without the help of Friends volunteers and Gorge community members, projects like this would not be possible.

Photos: Before and after cleanup at Lyle Cherry Orchard (Friends' archive)