Rowena Crest – A Day Hike in the Gorge

The magnificent Columbia River forms a portion of the state boundary line between Oregon and Washington and runs through an area called the Columbia River Gorge.

Columbia River panoramaThe Gorge is home to international wind-surfing competitions and internationally-acclaimed breweries, as well as many campgrounds and more hiking trails than you could do in a lifetime; well, ok, in my lifetime. It’s a phenomenally gorgeous part of the two states it divides and is incredibly close to the cities and surrounding areas of Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington.  Which makes it the perfect place to go for a day hike.  Which I recently did with a couple of friends.

Nick and Coleen on the trail up

Tom McCall Nature Preserve is located about 75 miles east of Portland and the Wildflowersdrive to the Rowena Crest Trailhead is about an hour and a half – there are no rest rooms and no water, so bring your own and go before you leave.  Since this is a nature preservInto the streese, dogs are not allowed – leave them at home as there is no shade in the parking area for them to stay in the car while you hike.

The Preserve is loaded with wildflowers in the spring, making it a perfect time to take a hike. There are two different hikes located at the Preserve: the McCall Point Hike and the Rowena Plateau Hike.  The one we took was the one to the top, to McCall Point.  It’s short and kind of steep but the views of the Columbia River and surrounding areas are fabulous!

The blue bachelor buttons and purple vetch were in bloom as were the white yarrow.  Looking out over the “plains” was like looking at an impressionistic painting done by a master painter.  (My camera does not do it justice – it was the middle of the day and the colors wash out.)

Blue bachelor buttons and purple vetch

Behind us, Mt. Adams popped its head out on the way up.  The view through the tiny stand of trees was spectacular! Of course, I used this as an opportunity to stand in the shade for a few minutes, taking pictures.

Mt. Adams

Truth be told, I didn’t make it all the way to the top. I sat down on a little bluff about a quarter mile from the crest and rested my feet, enjoying the amazing view around me. Nick and Coleen continued on, Mt. Hood popping into view as they came around the “corner” at the top. I’m saving that amazing experience for the next time. <insert big grin here>

Boots resting with a view

Rowena Crest is but one of many hikes in the Columbia River Gorge.  If you have a few hours, check out some nature near the city.  No matter what time of year or what your comfort level of hiking is, there’s a walk or hike on both sides of the river to be done!  Click here to check out the Portland Hikers Field Guide to Columbia River Gorge Hikes.

If you’d like to see more, click here for all my photos of Rowena Crest and Tom McCall Preserve.

See you on the trail!

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12 Responses to Rowena Crest – A Day Hike in the Gorge

  1. Debbie says:

    lovely pictures! I love the Columbia River Gorge area, its just beautiful!

    • Lois says:

      Thank you, Debbie! I love it, too… so much to see and do, places to go, food to eat, flowers and fruit to see and munch. I think I could live there :D

  2. Linda says:

    Gorgeous! Thanks for sharing. Haven’t been there. Especially love the pic of your hiking shoes. :) Happy Trails to you!

    • Lois says:

      Thanks, Linda! The Gorge is just so awesome and even after all the years I’ve lived here, full-time and now part-time, I feel like I’m only scratching the surface. So much Gorge, so little time!

  3. Lorna Landis says:

    Lovely pictures and thanks much for the link to the Hiking Guide!

  4. Well, dang, I was just down the road, in the Mt. Hood NF, south of Hood River, for most of a week. I made a run into town a couple of times. We might have passed each other and not known it.

    • Lois says:

      Well, dang is right!!! I’ve been here for almost 2 months, catching up on stuff – we could have had coffee! Dang it! I’ll be here for another couple of weeks and then I’m heading out but not sure where to yet. Maybe we’ll still cross paths somewhere!

      • I’m down by Sisters now and plan on being here through the holiday weekend (if only so I don’t need to find a new campsite while everyone is invading the forest). Then maybe out to the coast. Or maybe not.

        • Lois says:

          I was at the coast last week… but since it’s my favorite place to be, I might head back there in a couple of weeks. Or not. We’ll see :D

  5. Nancy Senn says:

    Lois, you found a beautiful sunny day for the hike and the pictures are stunning. Thank you for sharing these pictures and the links, which I have added to my “favorites.” It keeps me connected to my roots !

    • Lois says:

      It was gorgeous, Nancy! Hot, dry and wonderful :D Thanks for stopping by and commenting – I know you are still a Pacific Northwesterner at heart :D