(Image borrowed from the Hood River Kiteboarding Guide Hood River Gorge & Lyle Kiteboarding Guide)
Smooth, sandy and safe - Lyle.
Lyle has two major things going for it that make it one of the best places in the Gorge to learn how to kiteboard -smooth winds and a huge sandbar.
There is no legal way to access this location over land. The most common ways to reach the sandbar are via boat or jet ski from the Lyle boat ramp or from across the river at the Rowena boat ramp. However, many people risk being fined by the railway while crossing the tracks illegally between the parking lot and the sandbar (if you choose this method, do it safely -look out for trains and discretely).
The kiting season is March - October; and the site works on a West wind. The wind here is much cleaner compared to the Hood River Sandbar. However, the sandbar becomes submerged early spring when the Columbia River rises with freshet snow-melt.
Water conditions at Lyle are: flat water to wind chopped water, watch out for logs spit out by the Klickitat River. Water conditions are more variable and interesting for advanced kiters at the Hood River Sandbar e.g. Swell City and Slider Park.
The flat water spot behind the sandbar is small and often used for other water recreation. There is absolutely NO riding there come the end of August. The fishing season locally starts at this time and the salmon start to run up the Klickitat River. Local fisherman dislike kiteboarders in the river mouth, so in order to keep access to this sport, please stay out of the river mouth during this time or risk getting the whole beach shut down.
Because Lyle is a beginner-friendly kite spot where many people come to learn, it’s recommended that the spot is kept clear for beginners. Riders capable of riding upwind should launch on the tip of the sandbar/ spit and ride upwind in the navigable channel - the river currents will help you ride upwind. People learning to kite will be forced closer to the beach because of the onshore wind blowing on the sandbar.
Parking is on the north side of highway 14 before crossing the bridge into Lyle. Do not park on the side of the road or within 50 ft of the railroad to avoid conflict with the railway, emergency vehicles and locals.
Accommodation, food and washrooms can all be found in Lyle, a tourist-friendly town.
Wind forecast for Lyle, WA:
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Web-Cam for Lyle, WA: