Tom McCall Nature Preserve
Eastern Gorge, Oregon
alert Trail Alert, Mar 27, 2020: Most trails in the Columbia Gorge are now closed to the public due to the social distancing measures enacted by local and state health officials in Oregon and Washington. Friends of the Columbia Gorge is urging all members of the to public to stay local and give Gorge trails a break. If you can get to a neighborhood recreation spot by walking or biking, even better. Check the U.S. Forest Service, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department or Washington State Parks websites for additional information and breaking updates.

Hike Details
Type:
Out and back
Distance:
3.25 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:
1070 feet
Difficulty:
Moderate
Trail Features
Family Friendly
Family Friendly:
No
Restrooms
Restrooms:
No miles round trip
Trailhead Pass
Trailhead Pass:
No
Trail Details
WildflowersWildflowersBeautiful ViewsBeautiful Views
Start at the Rowena Crest Trailhead. The trail crosses a flat area for 0.10 mile, then picks up an old road. Follow for about 0.20 mile to an intersection with another old road. The second old road is full of the remains of construction work, but provides amazing views to the east. These include the Historic Columbia River Highway and a continuation of the wagon road, meandering down the opposite side of the valley. After about 1/2 mile, you'll come to a sign for the McCall Point Trail. The trail leaves the wagon road here, and, after a short climb, reaches the slopes overlooking the Rowena Plateau. Here, you'll view the arched highway bridge and Mount Defiance to the west. Looking north, Mount Adams appears beyond the town of Lyle. From here, the trail gets steeper as it switchbacks, alternating through forests of scrub oak and open, grassy areas.
 
Please Note:
  • This trail is open from May 1 - October 31 only.
  • No dogs are allowed since this is a nature preserve.
  • There are no restrooms here. The closest option is at Mayer State Park.
 
The Tom McCall Nature Preserve is managed by the Nature Conservancy who has worked to preserve the fauna and flora here. Ecologists work to monitor rare plant populations. Starting in spring, volunteers lead interpretive hikes.
 
The Rowena Plateau is a shorter, flatter hike option from this trailhead/nature preserve.
 
History
This nature preserve between Mosier and The Dalles is named for Oregon Governor Thomas Lawson McCall, whose commitment to conservation in Oregon remains an inspiration. The Rowena Overlook, McCall Point, and Rowena Plateau are owned by the U.S. Forest Service, Oregon State Parks and the Nature Conservancy and offer some of the most spectacular wildflower displays in the Gorge each May.

Driving Directions

Rowena Crest Trailhead:  From I-84, take Exit #69/Mosier. Follow the Historic Columbia River Highway into Mosier. Continue east on the highway for almost 7 miles. Look for a turnoff on your right with a big sign reading "Rowena Crest."