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On the Trail
The Mosier Plateau trail is managed cooperatively by the city of Mosier and Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust. The first half-mile of the trail runs through Mosier Pocket Park and alongside the town’s Pioneer Cemetery. A recreation easement from a local landowner then connects the city park to our land trust property.
This trail begins at Totem Plaza on Mosier’s main street and climbs along Mosier Creek to far-reaching views atop Mosier Plateau. The trail, completed in 2013, is part of the Gorge Towns to Trails vision. When complete, this trail system will link Gorge communities, vineyards, and orchards with nearby natural areas for a continuous, 200-mile trekking loop on both sides of the Columbia.
Buy a sandwich, drink, or snack in town at the start of the hike, and picnic among the wildflowers and views atop the plateau.
The hike is 3.5 miles, out to a loop and back, with 600 feet of elevation gain. The plateau ripples with the colors of more than 30 different wildflower species from March to May, with peak bloom in April. In summer, swim at Mosier Creek Falls at the swimming hole at Mosier Pocket Park. Winter hikes bring wildlife sightings, especially bald eagles, which are common in January.
Permits & Pets
The city of Mosier owns the land along Mosier Creek, and Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust owns the land on the plateau. Dogs should be leashed, to keep them from straying onto private property adjacent to the trail, and to avoid the ticks, rattlesnakes, and poison oak that are common here.
Steepness and trail construction is designed for pedestrians only. No motorized vehicles, horses, or bicycles are allowed on the trail. Smoking, hunting, and fires are also prohibited. No permits are required.
- Begin the hike in town, at the 30-foot-tall cedar totem pole. Its wildlife motifs were carved by lifelong Gorge resident Jeff Stewart, an art instructor at Columbia Gorge Community College in The Dalles.
- Turn left to walk east a short way on the highway shoulder and buy a sandwich or snacks at the market for a picnic atop the plateau. Cross over Mosier Creek on a bridge designed in 1920 by the famous Oregon bridge engineer Conde McCullough and restored in 2017. Mosier Creek and the town take their names from Jonah Mosier, who built a sawmill at the mouth of Mosier Creek in the 1850s.
- Just beyond the bridge, turn right onto a hiking trail into Mosier Pocket Park. Follow the trail along Mosier Creek past the Mosier Pioneer Cemetery, where graves date back to the 1860s. Come to a viewpoint overlooking the creek canyon and upriver to Mosier Creek Falls. The horsetail-shaped falls drop 80 feet in two drops, with a swimming hole between them.
- Continue on to a series of switchbacks and three sets of stairs. At the top of the plateau, enjoy the wildflowers and panoramic views of the Gorge and cherry orchards. Respect the railing at the plateau viewpoint, as it is for hiker safety and to protect the sensitive plants growing in the shallow soils here.
- Old foundations hint at past uses of the land (view our preserve page to learn more). A microwave tower, here since the 1950s, signals callouts to local firefighters. A cell tower is newer.
- Continue down the trail to where it meets the gravel driveway. Just past the foundation on your left, you will find the beginning of the lower loop trail.
- Return the way you came, retracing your steps. Please do not attempt to make this into a loop by hiking on the Historic Highway. This is highly discouraged because it is very unsafe.
- Please stay on the trail, as private property borders it in several areas, and sensitive plants cannot thrive if dogs and people trample them. Please also clean your boots before and after you hike. Hikers and their dogs are common vectors for spreading invasive seeds.
- Restrooms are available at Totem Plaza.
Drive east on scenic roads to wineries on State Road and Highway 30. They’re open for tastings April through October weekends. In June and July, many cherry orchards on Highway 30, State Road, and Root Road offer U-pick. Bring a cooler and fill it up.
Have lunch or dinner in Mosier; walk its quiet, old residential streets; and enjoy the relaxed vibe of this charming Gorge town.
Other Hikes at or Near This Trailhead
Directions & Travel Tips
On I-84, take exit 69/Mosier and follow the exit road, the Historic Columbia River Highway, as it curves east into Mosier’s small business district. On the left is Totem Plaza. A restroom is in the plaza.
Just past the totem pole, turn left and park in the large gravel area downhill, between the highway and railroad tracks. Please do not park along the road or at the Mosier Senior Center, your vehicle will be towed.
Begin the hike close to the totem pole in Mosier. The trailhead is actually 1000 yards east up the road, on the south side of Historic Highway 30, just over the historic bridge. You'll see a bench just after crossing the bridge and a trail. This is the beginning of the hike. You'll also see a sign for the pioneer cemetery here.