Tag Archives: Tom McCall Nature Preserve

Spring Hikes

Hope everyone is enjoying the new season! Here are some of our favorite spring-time hikes 🙂


If you’re looking for flowers:

Pittock Mansion

Rowena Crest & Tom McCall Nature Preserve

Lacamas Creek (Camas Lily Field)

Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival


Hikes that open in spring or that should be done before it gets too hot:

Larch Mountain

Painted Hills

Smith Rock



Tunnel Falls

Fairy Falls

Dry Creek Falls

Pool Of The Winds

Falls Creek Falls

Mist Falls



Spring kayaking:

Columbia River Slough

Sturgeon Lake




Best Of 2015!

Here is our list of the top hikes we did in 2015!

Columbia River Gorge (Oregon side): *Tunnel Falls* We love the Eagle Creek Trail and this year we finally made it all the way out to Tunnel Falls. We definitely weren’t disappointed!


Columbia River Gorge (Washington side): *Strawberry Island* This was a nice secluded hike that had amazing views of the Gorge and lots of birds.


Mt. Hood: *Zigzag Canyon* This hike is absolutely beautiful. You get amazing views of Mt. Hood all throughout the hike. We did this hike in late June and the Lupine were in full bloom!


Oregon Coast: *Bayocean Spit* Who doesn’t love a hike that’s right on the beach?


Washington Coast: *North Head Lighthouse* You can actually go up in this lighthouse. The views are great!


Portland Metro/Outer Portland: *Oak Island* This is one of our favorite hikes on Sauvie Island, the place is covered with cows!


Washington: *Lacamas Creek (Camas Lily Fields)* Go here in the spring when the lilies are blooming, it’s very pretty!


Willamette Valley: *Abiqua Falls* This waterfall is becoming more and more popular and we definitely understand why. It’s not the easiest waterfall to reach, but it’s definitely worth the scramble.


Central Oregon: *Smith Rock* We absolutely love this place. There is so much to see you almost need more than one day.


Kayaking: *Scappoose Bay* This was the first place we took our new kayak. There’s lots of places to explore here.


*Overall best hike of 2015*

Painted Hills!

Hands-down the most interesting place we’ve ever been to. The colors are beautiful and the views up at Carroll Rim are amazing! We HIGHLY recommend this hike!

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Honorable Mentions: *Lower Twin Lake, Youngs River Falls, Lost Lake (hike and kayak), Tom McCall Nature Preserve (go in the spring!), and The Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival.*

We’d love to hear what some of your favorite hikes of 2015 were!

Wishing everyone happy hiking in 2106!

Tom McCall Nature Preserve & Rowena Plateau (Spring)

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 😉

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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.

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Distance: 3.5 miles

Elevation: 110 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Pet Friendly: No. Pets are not allowed, all areas are a nature preserve.

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: No

Parking Fees: No

Seasons: All

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!