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Klickitat Trail: Klickitat Mineral Springs Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

The Gas-Ice building, Klickitat Mineral Springs (bobcat)
Beetles on red osier dogwood (Cornus sericea), Klickitat Mineral Springs (bobcat)
Remains of a soda water well, Klickitat Mineral Springs (bobcat)
Klickitat River below the mineral springs (bobcat)
The Mineral Springs section of the Klickitat Rail Trail (bobcat) Courtesy: National Geographic Topo
  • Start point: Wahkiacus TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Klickitat River Railroad Bridge
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: In and out
  • Distance: 5.2 miles
  • Elevation gain: 50 feet
  • High Point: 545 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: All year
  • Family Friendly: YesAcorss
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No
Poison Oak
Snakes
Ticks

Contents

Hike Description

This section of the Klickitat Trail cannot be done as a one-way jaunt as the old rail bed ends abruptly where the line use to cross the Klickitat River. The mineral springs here, which you can sample, began to be commercially exploited in the 1890s but all that remain are vestiges of the old well structures. Across the river, there is the one remaining building of a dry ice factory that operated here from 1928 - 1957. Spring is the best season to stroll here as the wildflowers are out in abandon, but be aware that poison oak and hordes of ticks call this stretch of trail their home as well. Part of this hike is in the Mineral Springs Unit of the Klickitat Wildlife Area.

Walk past the gate at the parking area on an open trail under ponderosa pines, white oaks and white alders. Poison oak abounds all along this trail. The path surface is alternately gravel, rounded river stones, and sand. The Klickitat runs to your right, but there are no roads or homes on this section. In the woods on the left, a fence line demarcates private property. Pass down an avenue of red osier dogwood, white alder, thimbleberry, and buck brush. The trail detours off the rail bed to the left in a stand of ponderosas. Then hit the gravel rail bed again and walk down a shady avenue of alders. Suddenly, you’re out in the open. This is the area of the mineral springs and the springs themselves are next to two concrete chimney-type well structures of an old water-bottling plant. Vaux’s swifts use them as a roost. The second spring actually bubbles energetically into its own orange-colored pool. Get your own taste of free Perrier and move on. The Gas-Ice Corporation’s dry ice plant (the last remaining building) is across the river next to a campground. There are the remains of a wooden bridge that once spanned the Klickitat here. You can explore this rocky expanse - the actual trail passes through a lovely little oak copse to your left. Back on the trail, enter a cool riverside thicket and walk along a slower-flowing braid of the river. Watch for mergansers and their chicks in the spring. Alder, willow and hazel shade the tread. The path may need trimming in this section and is overgrown in places. This is an area where multitudes of ticks flourish from spring into summer. Back in the open again, see the highway across the river and soon the houses of Klickitat. The trail ends at the buttress of the old trestle where it crossed the river. Here you can clamber down to a small beach.


Maps

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Stay on the trail; respect all private property signs.
  • Dogs on leash.

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Take a Hike: Portland by Barbara I. Bond
  • 100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon & Southwest Washington by William L. Sullivan
  • Day Hikes in the Columbia Gorge by Don J. Scarmuzzi
  • Curious Gorge by Scott Cook
  • Rail-Trails: Washington & Oregon by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

More Links

Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.