Tanner Butte
Central Gorge, Oregon
Into the forest on the trail to Tanner Butte (photographer: Debbie Asakawa)
Hike Details
Type:
Out and back
Distance:
17 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:
4500 feet
Difficulty:
Expert
Trail Features
Family Friendly:
No
Restrooms:
Yes
Trailhead Pass:
No
Trail Details
WildflowersBeautiful Views
This is a very strenuous hike with lots of elevation gain and only one water source. The hike starts at the Wahclella Falls Trailhead, but not the Wahclella Falls trail. To find the Tanner Butte trail, walk back toward the freeway, and look for a trail taking off above the parking lot area. Hike about a mile until you come out on a service road. Head south for about a mile until you see the Tanner Ridge/Butte Trailhead sign. From here, there are a series of beautiful waterfalls as you climb up Tanner Ridge.
 
Follow Trail #401 for approximately two miles, until you come to the junction of Trail #401D to Wauna Point. Turn right and continue the climb up Tanner Ridge. Hike a couple of more miles until you come to a junction with Trail #448, which heads back down the canyon toward Tanner Creek, and back to where you began. Continue toward Tanner Butte, and you will come to an abandoned road which the trail follows for nearly the remainder of the hike. The trail you are on continues to Eagle Creek, but for this hike you will take the cutoff trail to the top of Tanner Butte. It is well marked, but the trail isn't. Once you summit, the views are spectacular on a clear day.
 
- Hike descriptions were collaboratively written with the generous support of oregonhikers.org.

Driving Directions

Toothrock Trailhead:  From I-84, take Exit #40/Bonneville Dam. Turn south at the stop sign and drive about 100 feet. Turn left at the fork (right takes you to Wahclella Falls trailhead). Follow the short road uphill to the end where you'll see the trailhead parking lot.

Community Connection

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)

Preserve Story

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)