Lyle Cherry Orchard Preserve
Open from sunrise to sunset year-round; five-mile hiking trail gaining 1,500 feet of elevation.
Lyle Cherry Orchard is a 540-acre preserve located on the Washington side of the Gorge with a five-mile, round-trip trail near the community of Lyle. This property gains over 1,500 feet of elevation with cake-layered basalt walls carved by the Ice Age Floods.
Few spots on Lyle Cherry Orchard Preserve are without stunning views of the surrounding gorge. As the name implies, this preserve was once an orchard, though you are more likely to find unique native flowers as you wander through oak savanna and grassy meadow benches.
Conservation ValueLyle Cherry Orchard climbs from woodland foothills to basalt-cliffed meadows to rolling hills of oak savanna. The cliff edges are utilized for nesting by raptor species, including the vulnerable peregrine falcon.
Peak wildflower season is mid-to late April, when visitors can observe native species like Barrett’s penstemon, forktooth oocow, heartleaf buckwheat, pungent desert parsley, and broad-leaf lupine. Adjacent to the meadows are rocky scree slopes which offer unique habitat for reptile species including the rare California mountain kingsnake and the western rattlesnake.
The upper portion of the property is dominated by sloping oak woodlands with seasonal wetlands scattered throughout. The Oregon white oak is an incredibly important wildlife tree because of the production of acorns that feed many species during the winter. When the oak tree decays and limbs fall off, large cavities are left in the trunk and create ideal places for animals to nest. More than 200 species benefit from these oak trees, include Lewis’ woodpecker and the western grey squirrel.