Stumble Upon a Spring Paradise in Oregon, Where a Flower-Filled Trail Offers the Perfect Escape

by | Mar 1, 2024 | Adventures, Featured, Interesting, Photography, Travel, Willamette Valley

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Spring is one of my favorite times to get out and hike. After being stuck inside for most of the winter due to bad weather, I love getting out and stretching my legs while I explore new trails. My favorite trails are the ones with a lot of wildflowers, where nature puts on a show full of explosions of color. If you're looking for the perfect place to see wildflowers this spring, head out to the Rowena Plateau, where you'll be treated to gorgeous spring colors and a view of the Columbia River.

Rowena Plateau Hiking Trail

Rowena Trail. The trail is narrow and snakes it's way through a pretty green meadow.
Rowena Trail. Photo by SMcD22 via Flickr CC2.

Many come to check out this easy two mile trail for the gorgeous spring flowers, but are often left awestruck by the views of the river and sculptural cliffs carved by ice age floods.

The trail is located in the Tom McCall Preserve, and the best part is you don't need a special permit to visit!

Gorgeous yellow and purple wildflowers at Rowena Crest at sunrise.
Rowena Crest at sunrise. Photo by Stokes Rx via Flickr CC2.

While hiking you'll follow the trail along the rim, encounter two kolk ponds (little depressions filled with water that were created during ice age floods), and finally reach the far point of the trail which has stunning views down the gorge.

On your way back down the trail towards the trailhead, veer left and head along the edge of the cliffs for more awesome views of the Columbia River.

Yellow and purple flowers on the trail along an old wire fence.
Flowers on Rowena Plateau. Photo by SMcD22 via Flickr CC2.

Wildflower Viewing Tip

The best time to visit to see wildflowers in this spot is in April and May. This is when the trail really comes alive with lupine, balsamroot and other wildflowers. Let me tell you, nature really puts on a show here, and you won't be sorry you came.

Rowena Trail Information

Yellow flowers on the trail overlooking the Columbia River.
Rowena Plateau hike. Photo by Kerri Polizzi via Flickr CC2.

Finding The Trailhead For Rowena Plateau Trail

To get to the trailhead, you're going to head to the Rowena Crest Viewpoint at the Tom McCall Preserve. Take Exit 69 off of I-84 from Mosier, and then head east for 7 miles on Highway 30. Or you can take Exit 76 (the Rowena exit) and head west on Highway 30 through the Rowena Curves. We've marked the spot on a map for you to make it easy to find.

The trail begins right at the entrance to the overlook. There's also another trail at the overlook, and you can hike both the Rowena Plateau Trail and the McCall Point Trail in a single day.

Rowena Trail Notes

Yellow and purple flowers on the trail overlooking the Columbia River. You can see cliffs in the distance on the other side of the river.
Overlooking the Columbia River. Photo by SMcD22 via Flickr CC2.
  • The trail is family friendly, but you'll need to leave your furry four legged friends behind as there are no dogs allowed on the trail.
  • It should also be noted that there are no restrooms available at the trailhead. The nearest public restrooms are found at lower Mayer State Park, which requires a day use pass to enter.
  • There is no shade on the trail, so wear protective clothing or use sunscreen.
Colorful flowers in the meadow at Rowena Crest.
Wildflowers at Rowena Crest. Photo by Jim Choate via Flickr CC2.

To avoid the crowds, arrive early in the morning and visit on a week day. For the best lighting for wildflower photos, you'll want to be there at sunset. It's worth mentioning that this is a popular trail during April and May and that it can get crowded, especially on weekends.

A meadow of yellow wildflowers on a hill with a few sparse trees along the Tom McCall Point trail.
Colorful wildflowers along nearby Tom McCall Point Trail. Photo by Diana Robinson via Flickr CC2.

Hikers in this area should be on the lookout for Poison Oak, as well as ticks, which can carry Lyme disease. Hikers should also be ready for windy conditions (very windy), and plan their trip for a nice day when rain isn't expected.

Other nearby trails you may want to check out are the Memaloos Overlook Trailhead, and the Mosier Plateau Trail, both marked on the map above.

When visiting these trails, please remember to follow the seven easy principles of Leave No Trace. The wildflowers here are fragile, and straying off the trail even a little can crush and kill them.

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Written By Jessica Tomlinson

Jessica Tomlinson is a native Oregonian currently living in Southern Oregon. She has been blogging since 2006. She loves nature, photography, hiking, camping, and exploring Oregon's wilds.

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