Directions: Take I-84 east to exit 69 (Mosier). Take a right and follow the Historic Columbia River Highway for about 7.5 miles. There is a big sign marking Rowena Crest with areas to park.
We hiked the Rowena Plateau about 7 weeks ago, at the very beginning of the wildflower season. It was still pretty bare and dry up there so we decided to come check it out again and it was WELL worth the trip.
This time we decided to hike around the Tom McCall Nature Preserve as well. We didn’t go all the way up to McCall Point because there was so much poison oak and some of us in the group didn’t have long pants or sleeves on. Didn’t want to be itching for a week 😉
We started at the signed Tom McCall Nature Preserve trailhead and walked along the flat wide field that was full of Balsamroot and Lupine, Bachelor’s Button was also starting to bloom as well. Soon the trail starts to narrow a bit as you gain a little elevation and switchback up to a great viewpoint of the Gorge. We continued on a bit farther down the trail until we started noticing the Poison Oak on both sides of the trail getting really thick. We decided to turn back here and head back to the trailhead. If you continue on we would highly recommend you wear long pants and sleeves.
Back at the trailhead we crossed the Old Highway and headed towards the Rowena Plateau trailhead. To see our previous post about Rowena Plateau click here. Starting at the trailhead, the trail winds downhill gently for a little over a mile. You’ll pass Rowena Pond and many side trails that take you to different viewpoints of the Gorge. There are wildflowers on this part of the hike, especially at the beginning but they thin out as you hike. Also, keep your eyes peeled for deer, wild turkeys, butterflies, and lots of birds! The trail comes to an end at the “point” of the plateau. Head back the way you came to get to your car. There is poison oak along this part of the hike, but much less than Tom McCall.
Distance: 3.5 miles
Elevation: 110 feet
Pet Friendly: No. Pets are not allowed, all areas are a nature preserve.
Good For: All ages
Parking Fees: No
Popular: Very popular in spring, not as bad during the other seasons.
Overall: This is one of our favorite hikes to see wildflowers and one of our favorite views of the eastern Gorge!