Balfour-Klickitat Area & Trail (#4414)

Area Status: Open
This area is Open


This day use area offers an easy paved trail with Gorge views, wildflowers, and birdwatching opportunities just west of the Klickitat River's convergence with the Columbia River. Once a ranch, the site was acquired by the Forest Service in 1994 and has undergone efforts to restore native bunchgrasses and wildflowers. Acute naturalists will note native plants thriving in some areas while other plots are still actively being restored. A grove of non-native Osage Orange trees, planted as a windbreak in the late 1800s, have intentionally been left as a remant of the site's cultural heritage. 

The trail's paved 0-15% gradient makes most of it ADA accessible, however, some people with disabilities may need assistance on steep or rugged sections, particularly during winter and spring months. Winter snow is not cleared, nor is the pavement salted - so check the Gorge weather and conditions before heading out. During the wet fall, winter, and early spring months, a seasonal spring overruns the asphalt along part of the trail, creating a wet and muddy barrier to wheelchairs. A new section of boardwalk will be installed in 2020 to fix the issue.

Part of the Washington Audubon Great Birdwatching Trail, Balfour-Klickitat is a prime eagle watching spot around February and good for spotting songbirds and waterfowl year-round. To watch the spectacle of eagles congregating to feed on spring runs of salmon, head left from the trailhead towards Klickitat Cove, where Mill Creek flows into the Klickitat River from the west. Near the interpretive sign, veer left and uphill, following the signs marked “Wildlife Viewing Area.” A small platform provides a bird blind, allowing you to watch the eagles without disturbing them. 

Snow covers the ground at a rec site Backwaters

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Open for day use
Fees No Fee
Open Season: Year round
Usage: Light-Medium
Best Season: Late winter through early summer or fall
Restrictions: Motor vehicles amd bikes are prohibited. Fires not allowed within 200 feet of trail. Dogs on leash
Closest Towns: Lyle, WA
Water: No
Restroom: Vault Toilet
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

General Information


From Lyle, WA: Travel west on State Highway 14 approximately 1/4 mile.  Take an immediate right (north) after crossing the Klickitat River onto Canyon Road and travel approximately 1/4 mile to the parking lot on the east side of the road.

From Bingen, WA: Travel east on State Highway 14 approximately 10 miles.  Take a left (north) onto Old Highway 8 (Canyon Road) and travel 1/4 mile to the parking lot on the east side of the road.


See video for details.


A small parking lot is available at the trailhead.



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Nature Viewing

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Outdoor Learning

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