I recently ventured into some back roads territory I had not traveled before in the Columbia River Gorge area in Washington. This region is one of my most favorite areas in the Pacific Northwest that includes both the Oregon and Washington sides of “the gorge.” It’s diverse landscape and climate keeps calling me back over and over. If you’ve ever traveled through this area before, you will know what I mean.
I’m one who likes to study road maps. I like to find out where all the lesser roads lead to and if I might want to explore them on my own. And, with the help of Google, I’m able to find out what things I may encounter along the way, such as points of interest, weather conditions, terrain, or whatever else I may want to know. I have traveled many of the back road highways just north of the main Columbia River Gorge Highway 14 in Washington, but there was one in particular I was curious about that connects the gorge community of Lyle to Goldendale, located some distance northeast. This would be Highway 142, located in Klikitat County. I’m glad I checked it out! And now that I’ve traversed it, I can tell you that the best starting point would be at the east end of the highway at Goldendale. Why? Because, as you travel in a westerly direction, you will get jaw-dropping views of two majestic mountain peaks: Mt Adams and Mt Hood. Now, that’s double your pleasure!
The rural highway passes through lots of lush, green farmland and pastures at first, then starts to drop down in elevation quite quickly though a steep canyon area. The road becomes very narrow and windy through this stretch of road and two cars can barely pass each other. Speaking of cars, you may not see very many pass by as you travel along this rural highway. Once down in the Klikitat River Valley, the road follows along the scenic, wild river in forested area. The few communities that exist are very small. It always makes me wonder who lives in these out of the way places and for what reasons. But then again, I would love to exist in these pristine, “God’s country” areas!
The highway ends at the main Columbia River Gorge Highway 14 at Lyle. There is a small, well maintained rest area at the end of the road (or beginning of the road) with a restroom and overlook of the Klikitat River. It is here that it empties into the Columbia River. (See photo below) It is also here that the 31 mile Klikitat Trail begins that is popular for hikers. What a wonderful region this is!