The Klickitat River, as it flows from its source between Mount Adams and Mount Rainier, carves a spectacular canyon through the county. Roadside pullouts along the Goldendale-Glenwood highway, afford breathtaking views. The Klickitat canyon offers fine salmon and steelhead fishing and the general area is popular for both deer and turkey hunting. The town of Klickitat, at the base of the canyon, 13 miles from the mouth of the Columbia, is an example of a former Northwest timber logging town. It is now a stop for fishermen, mountain bikers, hunters and other recreationists who come to central Klickitat County.
Visitors to central Klickitat County will notice a west to east shift in vegetation. Fir forests in Snowden give way to stands of white oaks and pines in the swales and canyon ridges along the river, and to the treeless plateau areas surrounding Centerville and Goldendale. North of Goldendale are the forested Simcoe Hills which reach over 5,000 feet in elevation and separate Klickitat County from the Yakima Valley to the north.
Goldendale is the county seat and largest community with 3,500 people. On a hill near town, the Washington State Dept. of Parks operates an astronomical observatory. Goldendale is home to several fine historic homes, including the Presby Mansion which houses the Klickitat County Historical Society Museum.
Along the Columbia River, Central Klickitat County has several world class windsurfing sites, and is also home to The Dalles Dam and Horsethief Lake state park with its petroglyph tour and rock climbing. Wishram, an historic railroad town, sits adjacent to the former site of Celilo Falls.
Several outstanding wineries make their home in this county as well. As the gateway to the Columbia River Gorge, the Cascade Mountains, the Gifford-Pinchot National Forest, and the majestic beauty of Mt. Adams, the Klickitat area boasts some of the best vineyards and wineries in Washington State. Now is your chance to discover this backroad adventure where you may enjoy spectacular beauty and spectacular wines.
To the appreciation of the adventurous wine drinker or the casual visitor, the growers and vintners of Klickitat represent the heart of Washington wine, a collective adventurous spirit that understands that the unique wine story is always local. The story began in 1972 for Don Mercer on the south side of Horse Heaven Hills. Discovering an area ripe for world-class wine grapes, Don planted seven acres of Cabernet Sauvignon. The Andrews family soon followed, and now the vineyards of Horse Heaven Hills and the entire region take advantage of the area's unique microclimates to grow wine grapes that are sought after by premier winemakers and place them among the elite in the industry.
Building off of the hard work and knowledge of these few pioneer families, Klickitat Wine Country is now home to some of the best grape growers in the nation and a growing number of small, high quality, and award-winning wineries.
For a complete list and map of those wineries and description of each, click here.
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