The quaint town of Bickleton sits in the northeast corner of Klickitat County, Washington. Unassuming at first glance, this historic town is nestled in a part of the state that not everyone will visit, but perhaps everyone should. Located just north of the Columbia River, it makes for a great destination to stop and enjoy the rustic scenery while soaking in a genuine slice of history.
The town was settled by Charles Bickle when he founded a small trading post and set of stables in the area back in 1879. He also served as the town’s postmaster and the community was shortly thereafter named in his honor. In this time period the town’s economy was largely based around cattle and wheat farming, something that has remained true of Bickleton throughout the years. Unfortunately, in the decade between 1937 and 1947, numerous fires burned or otherwise destroyed many of the town’s original buildings, leaving the city to rebuild upon the ashes of their former homes. While the fires left their mark on Bickleton, they didn’t cause a shift in the character of the town, which remains beautiful to this very day.
Every year since 1910, the town has hosted an annual rodeo and picnic. A classic 1905 carousel is featured during the picnic, making it the perfect attraction for family, friends, and children. This event can still be visited today, and makes for an excellent chance to connect with some of the locals. Speaking of the locals, the town has a population of 88 as of the 2010 census, meaning that everyone in the area knows and works alongside one another. This type of community can be difficult to discover in our day and age, so remember to be respectful to the area on your visit. The friendly townsfolk will be sure to return the favor.
Known as the “Bluebird Capital of the World,” it should come as no surprise that Bickleton is famously home to a variety of the beautiful creatures. The mountain bluebird and western bluebird nest throughout the area, and can be seen for miles in every direction. Back in the 1960’s a pair of Richlanders put a can full of seed in a tree while visiting the town and picnicking. This ended up becoming something of a trend, and today you can see hundreds or thousands of birdfeeders and birdhouses along the roads in and out of town. Make sure to keep your eyes open and see how many you can spot!
The Bluebird Inn
A local tavern in the Bickleton is one of their foremost claims to fame. The Bluebird Inn, named for the gorgeous winged creatures calling the area their home, is said to be the longest-running tavern in the state of Washington (though the owners of the Brick Tavern in Roslyn may beg to differ). A visit to the town is incomplete without a stop here to wet your whistle before enjoying some of the scenery and hitting the road.