[Wildflower Bloom in the Columbia River Gorge of Oregon and Washington: 2011]

Wildflower Bloom in Dillacort Canyon

Klickitat River Drainage

T3N R13E S17 & 18

April 3, 2011

A south-facing slope to the north of Dillacort Creek, Klickitat River drainage..........April 3, 2011.

The south-facing slopes above and to the north of Dillacort Creek, Klickitat River drainage............April 3, 2011. The lower portion of the slope is Columbia Land Trust property while the upper slope is part of the Klickitat Wildlife Area.

Dillacort Canyon is a large canyon that descends from the northern slopes of Stacker Butte (Columbia Hills), generally trending northwestward until the last mile or two where it flows mostly westward. The section hiked was the lower portion which enters the Klickitat River from the east about 6 miles north of Lyle, WA. Access is from a gravel pullout on the east side of Washington Highway 142 at the mouth of Dillacort Canyon. The lower two miles of the Canyon are mostly on Columbia Land Trust, Klickitat Wildlife Area and Department of Natural Resources (Southeast Region) lands. Signs at the trailhead request hikers to obtain written permission to enter the Columbia Land Trust property along the east side of the highway (See the link above.). It probably doesn't hurt to contact the other two land managers if you plan to hike here.

The north-facing slopes on the south side of the canyon are largely coniferous. The south-facing slopes of the canyon are largely open with occasional Oregon white oak forests. Quite a bit of poison oak can be found under the oaks as well as out in the open, so caution should be exercised especially when trying navigate through the patches of woods. The canyon slopes are very steep (30-40 degrees) with poor footing. The soil is mostly clay with some patches of basalt talus. Once dried, the clay soil will be difficult to walk on when traversing the steep side slopes. The area that this hiker covered appeared to be fairly natural with only some evidence of cattle grazing during the past one or two seasons. Views are southwest down the Klickitat River, north along the Klickitat River and south from the highest slopes towards Stacker Butte. Because it was cloudy during my previous visit high on the ridgeline, it is currently unknown if there is a view towards Mt. Adams. The view east is dominated by the western rim of High Prairie.

The route of this visit was along the old 4WD road which follows the southern shore of the creek. Several spur roads proceed downhill from the old road to benches along the creek. The road is mostly through a mix of oak and coniferous forests (ponderosa pine and Douglas fir).

* Indicates the wildflower is currently in bloom.

Comprehensive Plant List for Dilacort Canyon

Ponderosa Pine: Pinus ponderosa var. ponderosa

Douglas Fir: Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii

Alder: Alnus sp.

* California Hazelnut: Corylus cornuta var. californica

Oregon White Oak: Quercus garryana

Licorice Fern: Polypodium glycyrrhiza

Western Sword Fern: Polystichum munitum

Cliff Fern: Woodsia sp. ?

Elk Sedge: Carex geyeri

* Common Woodrush: Luzula multiflora (L. campestris v. congesta)

Bristly Dog's-tail Grass: Cynosurus echinata

Medusa-head: Taenitherum caput-medusae

Ball-head Cluster Lily: Dichelostemma congestum (formerly Brodiaea congesta) - Basal leaves only.

* Glacier Lily: Erythronium grandiflorum var. grandiflorum - Thousands in massed bloom on the floor of the open oak forest.

* Chocolate Lily: Fritillaria affinis - Beginning to bloom.

* Yellow Bells: Fritillaria pudica

* Grass Widows: Olsynium douglasii var. douglasii

Rein Orchid: Piperia sp. (elegans or unalascensis?)

Heart-leaf Buckwheat: Eriogonum compositum var. compositum

* Miner's Lettuce: Claytonia perfoliata (ssp. intermontana ?)

* Red Miner's Lettuce: Claytonia rubra (ssp. rubra ?)

* Water Montia: Montia fontana

* Linear-leaf Montia: Montia linearis

* Common Chickweed: Stellaria media

Upland Larkspur: Delphinium nuttallianum (var. nuttallianum?) - In bud.

* Sagebrush Buttercup: Ranunculus glaberrimus var. glaberrimus

* Western Buttercup: Ranunculus occidentalis

Shining Oregon Grape: Berberis aquifolium

* Dutchman's Breeches: Dicentra cucullaria

* Oaks Toothwort: Cardamine nuttallii (formerly Cardamine pulcherrima var. pulcherrima)

* Little Western Bittercress: Cardamine oligosperma

* Spring Whitlow-grass: Draba verna

* Smooth Praire Star: Lithophragma glabrum

Thin-leaved Gooseberryleaf Alumroot: Heuchera grossulariifolia var. tenuifolia

* Northwestern Saxifrage: Saxifraga integrifolia (var. integrifolia ?)

Merten's Saxifrage: Saxifraga mertensiana - In bud.

* Peak Saxifrage: Saxifraga nidifica var. claytoniifolia

Mock Orange: Philadelphus lewisii

Serviceberry: Amelanchier sp.

Baldhip Rose: Rosa gymnocarpa ?

Himalayan Blackberry: Rubus armeniacus

Blackcap Raspberry: Rubus leucodermis

Pacific Trailing Blackberry: Rubus ursinus

Leafy Pea: Lathyrus sp. (probably Few-flowered Pea: Lathyrus pauciflorus)

Columbia Gorge Lupine: Lupinus sp. (latifolius X sericeus ?)

* Filaree: Erodium cicutarium

Klamath Weed: Hypericum perforatum

Dove'sfoot Geranium: Geranium molle

Deerbrush: Ceanothus integerrimus

Poison Oak: Rhus diversiloba

Burr Chervil: Anthriscus caucalis

* Columbia Desert Parsley: Lomatium columbianum - A few plants beginning to bloom.

* Fernleaf Desert Parsley: Lomatium dissectum (var. dissectum ?)

* Pungent Desert Parsley: Lomatium grayii

* Biscuitroot: Lomatium macrocarpum (yellow flowers) - Beginning to bloom.

Barestem Desert Parsley: Lomatium nudicaule

Suksdorf's Desert Parsley: Lomatium suksdorfii

Common Sweet Cicely: Osmorhiza berteroi ?

Western Snakeroot: Sanicula crassicaulis

* Desert Shooting Star: Dodecatheon conjugens

* Midget Phlox: Microsteris gracilis

* Ball-head Waterleaf: Hydrophyllum capitatum var. thompsonii

* Meadow Nemophila: Nemophila pedunculata

* Great Houndstongue: Cynoglossum grande - Beginning to bloom.

Common Houndstongue: Cynoglossum officinale

Foxglove: Digitalis purpurea

Common Monkey Flower: Mimulus guttatus

Cutleaf Penstemon: Penstemon richardsonii var. richardsonii

Common Mullein: Verbascum thapsus

Bedstraw, Cleavers: Galium aparine

Orange Honeysuckle: Lonicera ciliosa

Common Snowberry: Symphoricarpos albus (var. ?)

Yarrow: Achillea millefolium var. occidentalis

Heartleaf Arnica: Arnica cordifolia

* Northwest Balsamroot: Balsamorhiza deltoidea / careyana - A few plants beginning to bloom on open slopes to the north side of the creek.

Diffuse Knapweed: Centaurea diffusa

Bull Thistle: Cirsium vulgare

* Gold Stars: Crocidium multicaule

Scouler's Hawkweed: Hieracium scouleri

False Agoseris, Prairie Dandylion: Nothocalais troximoides (Synonym: Microseris troximoides)

Western Groundsel: Senecio integerrimus (var. exaltatus or var. ochroleucus ?)

Animals Seen Along This Route:

California Ground Squirrels

Douglas Squirrel

Mule Deer - one herd of 4 high on the slopes.

Red-tailed Hawk

Prairie Falcon ?



Stellers Jays


Spotted Towhees

Dark-eyed Juncos

Black-capped Chickadees

Canyon Wrens singing on the surrounding rocky slopes

Mourning Cloak

Masses of glacier lilies blooming below the oaks at Dillacort Canyon, Klickitat River Gorge...........April 3, 2011. - Masses of glacier lilies blooming below the oaks at Dillacort Canyon, Klickitat River Gorge...........April 3, 2011.

Dillacort Creek viewed towards downstreams on Klickitat Wildlife Area lands, Klickitat River drainage...........April 3, 2011. - Falls on Dillacort Creek (viewed upstream) on Klickitat Wildlife Area lands, Klickitat River drainage...........April 3, 2011. - Falls on Dillacort Creek (viewed upstream) on Klickitat Wildlife Area lands, Klickitat River drainage...........April 3, 2011.

Additional views of masses of glacier lilies blooming under the oak forest and views of several waterfalls Dillacort Canyon...............April 3, 2011.

Paul Slichter