It takes hours, days, weeks...years to plan, prepare and build quality trails. Now, thanks to a partnership between Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust and the Washington Trails Association (WTA) that takes advantage of the latter group's expertise at volunteer-built trails, the existing trail at the land trust's Lyle Cherry Orchard preserve is being altered and enhanced, making the lower part of the trail less treacherous and opening up new vistas from this eastern Gorge jewel.
The Cherry Orchard Loop trail is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2019, providing new viewpoints and an additional 0.6-miles of trail through unique oak forests and rugged landscapes. Add this new route to your must-do hikes, and come out and experience the great work WTA has accomplished in the last year.
You can still be part of this volunteer-built achievement! Sign up for WTA-led work parties on Dec. 7 (wait list only) and Dec. 8, when WTA will lead two more days to start building the separate Lyle Loop trail, accessing the northwest corner of the Lyle Cherry Orchard preserve. This loop will provide an additional two miles of new trail, as well as feature views from a higher elevation than the Cherry Orchard Loop.
Never built a trail before? No worries. WTA crew leaders are there to guide and find the right work that fits your ability. From raking debris to throwing a Pulaski, there is something for everyone to do. It's rewarding and renewing to build trails and work alongside other people who love to be outside.
Once you build a trail, you’ll never look at them the same way. You will find yourself analyzing the tread, or complimenting the water bars, but most importantly you know that is took people hours, days, weeks and years to build that trail.
Stay tuned in 2020, with more opportunities to be a part of building the newest trail in the Gorge!