Wildflower Viewing Areas in the Columbia River Gorge of Oregon and Washington

Tom McCall Nature Preserve

The Nature Conservancy

View east along the Columbia River from the Rowena overlook.

Entrance to Tom McCall Nature Preserve.

Eastbound:

Eastbound on Interstate 84, exit onto US 30 at exit #69. Exit the freeway southbound (to the right). Proceed uphill, winding through beautiful oak forests and meadows for about 7 miles. Either park on the west side next to the Nature Conservancy sign, or at the traffic circle at Rowena Overlook.

Westbound:

Westbound from The Dalles on Interstate 84, take exit 76 at Mayer State Park. Cross under the freeway and then turn right (west) onto US 30. Wind several miles uphill to the crest of Rowena, where one may park either on the west side of the road next to the Nature Conservancy sign, or at the traffic circle at Rowena Overlook.

The views from the overlook are outstanding. One may look east towards the Dallesport, WA, or north across the river towards Lyle, WA and the mouth of the Klickitat River. A planting of native wildflowers, complete with signage may be seen within the traffic circle at the overlook.


View north from the Rowena Overlook towards Lyle, WA and the mouth of the Klickitat River.

One may also hike a trail that runs from the south side of the traffic circle to the crest of the hillside overlooking Rowena and Tom McCall Preserve. This is the Tom McCall Point Trail. Just walk around the east side of the fence and follow the trail along the west edge of the cliff. Be aware that there is lots of poison oak, ticks, and rattlesnakes along the trail! Wear pants for your protection. This isn't probably the best place to walk your dogs because of the poison oak! They can give it to you!

The old portions of this upper trail are steep in places, and are outsloped. Watch where you walk. Your shoes should have decent tread, as the trail surface is hard with grit or pebbles which could prove slippery, especially when descending.

Note: The trail to Tom McCall Point is currentlly being rebuilt (winter of 2016-17), so we will expect that the new trail will be built to USFS standards for wear and tear as well as easier accessibility.

The lower section of the preserve is easier to walk around on and view wildflowers. Walk back to the old gorge highway, US 30 where you will see a fence with steps over them, and a large sign.

View the common wildflowers on the Nature Conservancy sign along US 30. Cross the fence and proceed along a trail which leads through lush meadows which often show wildflowers from February through August. Many vernal pools display their own unique microhabitats, and a permanent pond and small stream provide a different source of wildflowers than those seen in the meadows. Beware of dense stands of poison oak anywhere you see brush or trees. Also be aware for the presence of rattlesnakes.


Plant Lists:

March 6, 2005

August 29, 2005

August 29, 2004: Tom McCall Nature Preserve

August 29, 2004: Dry vernal pond between Mosier, OR and Tom McCall Nature Preserve

February 18, 2002: Includes reports for multiple locations in the eastern Gorge.

February 2, 2002: Includes reports for multiple locations in the eastern Gorge.

March 4, 2001

March 23, 2000

July 4, 1998

April 4, 1998

March 2, 1997


Paul Slichter