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Balfour-Klickitat Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

View of the Klickitat River from Balfour-Klickitat (bobcat)
Tarweed fiddleneck (Amsinckia lycopsoides), Balfour-Klickitat (bobcat)
Old shed, Balfour-Klickitat (bobcat)
Columbia Gorge broad-leaf lupine (Lupinus latifolius x sericeus), Balfour-Klickitat (bobcat)
Loop trail at Balfour-Klickitat (bobcat) Courtesy: Google Maps


Hike Description

This short loop at a wayside near the mouth of the Klickitat River is perhaps most noted for the bald eagles that congregate here in January and February to feed off the salmon run. The other good time to visit is in the spring, when there is a decent wildflower display. Lewis and Clark paid a visit to a Native village at this location. The land here was purchased by two sons of the English lord Sir Thomas Balfour in the late nineteenth century. They planted pears, prunes, and wine grapes. The U.S. Forest Service purchased the land in 1995, removed some buildings, and reseeded it with native plants.

Pick up the paved trail behind the restroom at an interpretive sign and head to the right. There are great views of the Columbia River and parasailors, and also across to the Rowena bluffs and Tom McCall Point. The trail switchbacks to cross a weedy open area. Pass a bench on the left and then walk under a grove of locust trees that shelter a small shed. There’s a line of young cottonwoods up to the left. The trail passes through a field of miner’s lettuce and fiddlenecks and then under white oaks, with the Klickitat River below. There's a gushing spring here. Walk along a short boardwalk through a blackberry patch to a viewpoint over the river and across to the Lyle suburbs. A railing lines the river side of the trail. Ther are more large oaks before you come to a trail junction. Head down to the right, passing an old, grassy vehicle track and a ponderosa pine and then descend to the pine-shaded picnic area overlooking the Klickitat. California ground squirrels dart about here, a pleasant stop on a sunny day.

Returning uphill, head right at the junction as the trail curves under the old Highway 8 and a line of big-leaf maples to reach the parking area.


Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Dogs on leash
  • Beware of poison oak
  • $2 toll at Hood River Bridge

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • 70 Virtual Hikes of the Columbia River Gorge by Northwest Hiker
  • The Dog Lover's Companion to the Pacific Northwest by Val Mallinson

More Links


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.