Sunise over Tom McCall Nature Preserve with lupine and balsamroot blooming (photographer: Michael Horodyski)
Trail Description Driving Directions
Trail Alert, Oct 31, 2017: The Tom McCall Nature Preserve is closed seasonally, from Nov. 1 through April 30.
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 Tom 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.
- 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.
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, Tom 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. + Read More
- Type: Out and back
- Distance: 5 miles round trip
- Elevation Gain: 1070 feet
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Family Friendly: No
- Restrooms: No
- Trailhead Pass: No
Gorge Trailhead Passes Guide
Post-Fire Gorge Hiking Opportunities
These trails and recreation areas in and around the Gorge are open for exploring.