Lyle Washington Travel Guide

SA Kitesurf Adventures Lyle Washington Shop Front

Lyle WA near Hood River

There’s so much more to Lyle than just kiteboarding. Don’t get us wrong; Lyle is by far the best place in the Columbia River Gorge to learn to kiteboard and a popular spot for more advanced riders looking to escape crowds in Hood River, but that’s not all there is to this undiscovered gem.

Located on the north bank of the Columbia River at River Mile 181 where the wild and scenic Klickitat River joins the Columbia, sits a little unincorporated town (with a population of less than 500 people) with so much to offer. Whether you love outdoor adventure, food and wine, or simply relaxing with beautiful views, Lyle has something for everyone! Here’s what we love about this charming town (we’ll start with the kiteboarding, but read on to discover so much more). 

Many Opportunities to Explore the Great Outdoors!

The Gorge Lyle Sandbar Washington


If you are reading this blog, it’s probably because you found us, and Lyle, through an interest in kiteboarding and/or learning to kiteboard. Lyle is home to SA Kitesurf (SAK) Adventures, one of only two International Kiteboarding Organization (IKO) affiliated schools in the Columbia River Gorge. SAK began kiteboarding operations in Lyle in 2014 and opened a brick and mortar shop the summer of 2017. SAK’s shop overlooks the Columbia River. It is the perfect place in Lyle to hang out, sit in the hammock, make new friends, and watch the kite action without having to trek down to the sandbar.

The Lyle Sandbar is exactly that – a large sandbar exposed on the west side of the Klickitat, where the river meets the Columbia. It’s our favorite place for many reasons. There is ample open space to safely and easily set-up, launch, and land kites. Water around the sandbar is shallow, so those new to kiteboarding can always stand. Similarly, new riders have plenty of space to kite without having to worry about getting stuck in the shipping channel. There will likely always be other kiteboarders out on a windy day, but the sandbar is never as crowded as its neighboring Hood River Event Site. Lyle feels rural and wild and the views from this location are stunning. The wind often comes through big in the evenings, so Lyle gets the best sunset sessions of anywhere around!

SAK has an open door policy and welcomes everyone into the Lyle kiteboarding community! Come see us! We are located at 34 State Street (Hwy 14)



Right from the heart of Lyle you can set out on three different trails!

Enjoy spring wildflowers and spectacular views of the Columbia River Gorge from the Lyle Cherry Orchard Trail. This hike is five miles round trip, gains 1500 feet in elevation, and is moderately difficult.

For all you bird lovers out there, the Balfour-Klickitat Loop is for you. This ¾ mile loop is the perfect way to spend the morning admiring your favorite birds. An easy, yet rewarding hike!

The Klickitat Trail, set in an abandoned railroad bed, follows the Klickitat River for a total of 13 miles from Lyle to the town of Klickitat. This is a popular route for trail runners, mountain bicyclists, and families looking for a gentle riverbank stroll. Meander along the trail from Lyle to Fisher Hill for a four-mile round trip day hike or continue on from Fisher Hill to Klickitat for a 26 mile round trip adventure.  If you’re looking for something in between, shuttle a car to Klickitat for a 13-mile one-way cycle or hike. It’s up to you.

Follow our links from Friends of the Columbia Gorge to learn more!

Erika Paddling The Klickitat River

Paddle Sports

Lyle sits directly above where the mouth of the wild and scenic Klickitat River joins the mighty Columbia. The upper Klickitat River is known for its outstanding whitewater rafting, while the lower Klickitat boasts Class II rapids suitable for inflatable kayaks and tubes. Further downstream, as you near the Columbia River, you will find Lyle Falls. The Falls are not safe to pass, so it is essential that you take out above or put in below the Falls.

The float below the Falls is the most gentle section of the Klickitat. It is ideal for a lazy afternoon of lounging on a tube and dipping in the icy water to escape the summer sun. Along this route you will find delicious blackberries ripe for eating and a rope swing for taking an exhilarating plunge. Check in at the SAK shop for specific instructions on safe places for tubing, rafting and boating along the Klickitat.



Beyond rafting, the Klickitat River is known for its amazing fishing! Whether you are into fishing or just the fish, the Klickitat River is an extremely vibrant place during salmon season. We love watching the salmon runs in late Spring and early Fall. The fish make their journey upstream from the Pacific Ocean to where they were hatched in the Klickitat to lay their eggs. It’s amazing to watch the strength and perseverance of these fish as they jump Lyle Falls!

Some make it home and some don’t. That’s the other side of the story that unfolds in Lyle. For thousands of years, tribal fishermen from the Yakama Nation have fished salmon from the Columbia and Klickitat Rivers. Lyle is one of the only places in the area where you can witness their traditional style of fishing. Where Lyle Falls tumbles through a steep narrow part of the Klickitat River Canyon, tribal fishermen stand on platforms and use dip nets to catch the jumping fish. Learn more from OPB.

The fishing season opens June 1st and closes after the last day in November. Summer is known for its Steelhead Trout and the Spring and Fall for Chinook and Coho Salmon. There are many qualified guides that can host you for a few hours to several days for the fishing adventure of a lifetime. If you want a recommendation from us, let us know and we will put you in touch with our man Steve! He’ll give you way more than an ordinary experience – we promise!

The float below the Falls is the most gentle section of the Klickitat. It is ideal for a lazy afternoon of lounging on a tube and dipping in the icy water to escape the summer sun. Along this route you will find delicious blackberries ripe for eating and a rope swing for taking an exhilarating plunge. Check in at the SAK shop for specific instructions on safe places for tubing, rafting and boating along the Klickitat.

Camping in Lyle Washington


Why should you spend a night outside in Lyle? The stars! The night sky in Lyle is something that most of us rarely get to experience. Escape the light pollution of more developed areas; lay out a blanket; and plop down for an hour after dark. We promise you’ll be wowed, and we can almost guarantee a plethora of shooting stars – we always see them. Don’t forget to make a wish. We can’t give away our FREE camp secret in this blog, but there is a beautiful little spot along the Klickitat River that we are happy to share with you. Just ask and we’ll give you directions!

Erika and Libby wine tastings

Wine Tastings

You could easily spend an entire weekend in Lyle simply sipping wine. Lyle is home to some of the best wineries the Columbia River Gorge has to offer – and there’s not just two or three, but a grand total of five! Escape into the hills of Lyle to visit Cor CellarsSyncline, and Domaine Pouillon or stay right on Highway 14 to visit Tetrahedron. Each and every winery has something unique to offer, and in this case, we cannot possibly recommend just one. You have to try them ALL

If you are coming to kiteboard and you have a friend or significant other that isn’t into the sport and/or the wind. SA Kitesurf’s shop is directly below the Domaine Pouillon Tasting Room. So whoever isn’t kiting can sit and enjoy an exquisite glass of wine, overlooking the Columbia River, without missing a second of the kiteboarding action.

Lyle Grocery Store


If you need it, they’ve got it! The Lyle Mercantile is your one stop shop for anything you might need for a weekend away. It’s more of a general store than a convenience store. Not only can you get your typical snacks and light food items, forgotten toiletries, firewood, limited hardware and other camping supplies, but you can also pick up interesting used items (similar to those typically found in thrift shops) and much more. You can even rent movies. And don’t forget to pick up your Discover Pass. The Lyle Mercantile sells the State of Washington’s annual pass for all your outdoor recreation needs. The Discover Pass gives you access to millions of acres of state recreation lands and to our favorite little camping spot mentioned previously.

If you’re looking for something to do or somewhere to go, thinking about kiteboarding or not, come see us in Lyle! We promise you won’t be disappointed!

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