Distance: 28.6 miles
Elevation gain: 3285 feet
Starting point: Lyle, Washington
Some hill climbs are perfect. This is one of them. I’m not built like a climber, and I only had to stand and pedal three times on this climb. The pavement is smooth, there are very few cars, the road winds and curves and disappears from view, there are wildflowers, and there’s a great descent at the end of the climb.
Drive to Lyle, Washington. Park at the nice park on the east side of the Klickitat River at the bottom of highway 142. Head west on SR-14 about 100 yards and turn right up Canyon Road. When the road forks, stay right on Canyon Road. Climb. Keep climbing. Climb more. Eventually the road will plateau, becoming straight, before one last climb. Take a right on the Klickitat-Appleton Road. Descend. Enjoy the views of the Klickitat River Valley.
At the bottom of the hill, take a right onto highway 142 and follow the Klickitat River back to your car. Keep an eye out for kayakers. When the river drops into a narrow gorge, stop and take a look. This is the class VI Klickitat Gorge, illegal to kayak (it’s on tribal land), filled with fishing platforms and downright gnarly rapids. It’s pretty darn cool, I think.
If it’s a west wind day, or if you want a long, steep climb of about 2000′ at 8%, ride do this ride the other direction, counter-clockwise. Head up the Klickitat River about 11 miles, and take a left on Klickitat-Appleton Road. Do not do this when it’s hot out. The climb is steep, exposed, and has very little shade for the first 1000′.
After the climb levels out, take a left on Canyon Road (the first major intersection), and follow that road all the way back to the Columbia River. It’s a stellar descent: curvy, good pavement, and just-plain-fun!
Enjoy the ride!