Weldon Wagon
Eastern Gorge, Washington
Hiking the Weldon Wagon Trail (photographer: Micheal Drewry)
Hike Details
Type:
Out and back
Distance:
5 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:
1340 feet
Difficulty:
Moderate
Trail Features
Family Friendly:
No
Restrooms:
Yes
Trailhead Pass:
No
Trail Details
WildflowersBeautiful ViewsCultural HistoryCultural HistoryBird Viewing
The 2.5-mile historic wagon road built in the early 1900's to transport apples from the upper farmlands to the White Salmon River for transporting to markets. It is now a year-round trail with a wildflower show in the spring and great colors of vine maples and oak woodlands in autumn. To find the trailhead, walk 0.15 mile up a 4x4 road to a well marked sign for Weldon Wagon Trail. At 1.5 miles, the trail takes you into the White Salmon Oak Natural Conservation Area (note: no dogs allowed here). Return the way you came. At the end of the wagon road you'll find old rusted farm equipment left there to capture a feel for the past. This trail also makes for great mountain biking. 

Driving Directions

Weldon Wagon Trailhead:  Cross the Hood River Bridge ($2 toll). Head west onto WA Hwy 14. Drive 1.6 miles and turn right onto Highway 141 ALT. Continue 2.2 miles and turn left onto Highway 141. Go 4 miles to Husum. Turn right, before crossing over Rattlesnake Creek/Bridge, onto a gravel Indian Creek Rd. Drive 0.6 miles. Bear left onto Indian Cemetery Rd. Then continue for 0.3 miles to a 4x4 road and sign marking the Weldon Wagon Trail.

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)