Blooming balsamroot at Tom McCall Preserve looking north toward Rowena Plateau (photographer: Greg Lief)
Trail Description Driving Directions
Trail Alert, May 8, 2017: A rockslide took out a section of the Rowena loops on the Historic Columbia River Highway. This section of the highway is closed now for the next 2-3 weeks. You can still reach this trailhead by heading east on Highway 30 through Mosier (exit #69).
This easy stroll over a plateau in the eastern gorge is a great hike to view the geological reminders of the ice age floods which created the Gorge. Views up and down the Gorge show the rolling hills and valleys across the river, but also the depressions, now "kolk" lakes, created by the floods. In late spring, the balsamroot and other wildflowers are abundant and help to create a palette of warm tones for photographers and hikers.
You can't talk about the Rowena Plateau without talking about the Tom McCall Nature Preserve. The Nature Conservancy has worked to preserve the fauna and flora here. Ecologists work to monitor rare plant populations. Starting in spring, volunteers lead interpretive hikes.
There are no restrooms here. The closest option is at Mayer State Park.
A more strenuous hike to the Tom McCall Point also leaves from this trailhead/nature preserve.
Please note: No dogs are allowed since this is a nature preserve managed by The Nature Conservancy. + Read More
- Type: Loop
- Distance: 2.5 miles round trip
- Elevation Gain: 250 feet
- Difficulty: Easy
- Family Friendly: Yes
- Restrooms: No
- Trailhead Pass: No
Gorge Trailhead Passes Guide
Preserve the Wonder Hike Challenge
This spring’s hike challenge highlights the many wonders of the Gorge.