Distance: 20+ miles
Elevation Gain: 2447+ feet – this ride exceeds the Gorge Ratio of 1000′ per 10 miles.
Best time of year: sunny winter days, spring, fall
Sometimes sunshine is just what you need. And sometimes you need sunshine combined with a nice, long climb in your granny gear. This ride will give you that. You’ll also have stellar views of the Klickitat Valley, winding smooth dirt through the forest, a fabulous variety of “no tresspassing” signs, and a great descent. You can choose dirt or pavement for your descent.
Start your ride at the parking area at the bottom of Canyon Road just to the west of the Klickitat River. You can also park at the parking lot at the bottom of the Klickitat Trail.
Ride up the Klickitat Trail to Fisher Hill bridge and enjoy the view into the narrows of the Klickitat River (closed to kayaking, by the way). Head up Fisher Hill. This is a lovely climb on smooth dirt. It weaves its way up the exposed hillside. This is important. In the winter and spring, you’ll be so thankful for the blazing sun. Don’t try it in summer unless it’s late in the day.
You’ll top out and be surrounded by grassy meadows filled with wildflowers in spring. Ride some rollers for a few miles. Take a left on the first road you come to. It’s unlabeled. You’ll then wind and roll along some lovely dirt, through scrub oak forest, and past a delightful collection of signs instructing you to keep out. Correctly spelled, these are not, but you’ll still get the idea.
Eventually you’ll come out of the woods and onto paved Johnson Creek Road. Follow this until it runs into Canyon Road. Take a left, cruise a mile of flat, and then (short version) enjoy a spectacular descent down the most perfect pavement you can imagine. The view isn’t shabby either, but I was too happy descending to take a photo.
Two other options give you a bit more climbing and mileage. If you want a sunny descent, take the shortest option.