In ~1 mile, you'll come to a clear-cut area as the trail turns sharply to the right. Some of this land is privately owned, so while access is approved, it is not recommended you divert far from the trail. As you approach Gillette Lake, you will head up the right side of a dried-up creek valley and begin to gain more elevation. The trail eventually empties out onto a forest road. The lake is on the other side of the road, downhill and just out of view. Look for where the trail picks back up as it heads downhill. You'll see the lake on your left. Gillette Lake is a natural lake.
Continue down the hill and look for a small spur to the left. It takes you to a nice lakeside campsite. The lake is stocked with golden trout and there are often ducks as well, particularly in the winter. Deer are common around dusk, feeding in the clear-cuts. There is a view of Hamilton Mountain is to the west.
Back on the PCT, continue up to the Greenleaf Viewpoint for a great view of the Columbia River Gorge. Further on, you'll cross an abandoned road that today forms the Greenleaf Trail. Turning right here would lead you to Greenleaf Falls; for this hike, continue straight ahead. Soon, the trail contours across a ridge above Carpenters Lake. The PCT-Aldrich Bypass Trail soon parallels the PCT and then intersects ~ 1 mile from Carpenter Lake. You can take either path north from here as they intersect again about 150 yards farther north.
From this 2nd junction take the PTC northward as it climbs the west side of Table Mountain. ~ 1/2 mile later, you'll come to the Heartbreak Ridge Trail. This is a newly reopened second route to the summit of Table Mountain. The new route follows the old Eastway Trail for some distance up the mountain, and then swerves onto a new path up a steep talus slope. The Heartbreak Ridge Trail is quite rugged, so for this hike stay on the Crest Trail for ~ another 1/2 mile to the West Table Mountain Trail.
There are several different routes here, and the trail is a bit of a maze. The trail reaches the Table Mountain Lower Viewpoint, a large flat area, about a half mile above the Crest Trail. On a clear day, there are great views of Bonneville Dam and Cascade Locks. Here, the trail alternates between small timbered patches and open hillsides. The open areas are mostly right on the edge of a cliff and have great views to the west. Eventually, there are a couple of switchbacks through a talus area and some interesting pits that may have Native American origins. The trail passes another rocky area with a cairn marker. Soon after this, the trail comes to a fork. Go straight ahead to the open North Viewpoint, where there are views of Mount St. Helens, Mt. Adams, and Mt. Rainier. Return to the fork and head south.
Next you will come to a flat stretch. Table Mountain is well named because the summit is as flat as a table. The main trail heads south and crisscrosses to the summit, and then drops through open meadows. The south edge features views of the cliffs framing the landslide, as well as views of the Columbia Gorge, and Mt. Hood. Enjoy the summit views and then return the way you came.
Hike by Bus! The Skamania County WET Bus stops at this trailhead. Plan your next trip using this service with our suggested hike itinerary. Learn more.
Driving DirectionsBonneville Trailhead: From Oregon, take I-84 to Exit #44/Cascade Locks. Follow the signs to Bridge of the Gods/Stevenson and cross the bridge ($2 toll). Take a left and travel east on WA Hwy 14 for about a mile and a half. After you see Bonneville Dam on your left, start looking for the trailhead sign on your right. From Vancouver, travel east on WA Hwy 14 for 35 miles. After you pass Beacon Rock State Park and the town of North Bonneville, you'll see Bonneville Dam on your right. Just past the dam on the left side of the highway is the Bonneville Trailhead.
Lyle Cherry Orchard’s trailhead is located approximately one mile from the Gorge town of Lyle and is home to the “Lyle” sign that sits above the community. Since this preserve was opened to the public the Lyle Cherry Orchard has provided the community with an accessible natural space right in their back yard. The sunny and dry preserve is the perfect hiking spot to visit during the rainier fall days in the western gorge. Visitors from the Gorge and beyond recreate on Lyle Cherry Orchard and in turn support the local economy.
Photo: View of town of Lyle from Lyle Cherry Orchard (Debbie Asakawa)
The property where Lyle Cherry Orchard Preserve lies currently was once grazing land for cattle and as the name suggests the eastern part of the preserve held a cherry orchard. The orchard and its trees were well abandoned by the time Nancy Russell purchased the property piece by piece in the 1990’s and later donated it to Friends in 2009. Nancy purchased the property when it came up for sale because it was within key viewing areas on the Oregon side of the Gorge and would have most likely become subdivided for development.
The land is also home to remnants of Lyle Convict Road, a demonstration road built by Sam Hill to convince Washington legislators to fund a Columbia River Highway. When Washington showed no interest in Sam’s project, he invited the entire Oregon legislature to his Maryhill estate to see his "Good Roads" work and Oregon quickly agreed to build on their side of the river what is today the Historic Columbia River Highway.
The trail at Lyle Cherry Orchard was started in when Friends' founder Nancy Russell purchased the property and has been open to the public and maintained Friends and its land trust ever since. In 2019, Washington Trails Association started work to reroute some parts of the trail and add new trail to explore for the benefit of Gorge residents.
In 2013, the land trust and volunteers removed a dilapidated house and outbuildings on the southwestern end of the property. Countless hours were spent removing building materials, old vehicles, garbage, and debris. In 2015 volunteers removed over 1,700 feet of fencing material on the property to allow for the free movement of wildlife across the landscape. Without the help of Friends volunteers and Gorge community members, projects like this would not be possible.
Photos: Before and after cleanup at Lyle Cherry Orchard (Friends' archive)