Flower Power in the Gorge

Columbia Gorge

After the long winter rainy months indoors, its time to get outside, and we all know that those rain showers bring spring flowers. A hike among the rugged terrain of the Columbia Gorge, reveals floral pyrotechnics. You may encounter the delicate blossoms of the Oregon Iris, with its distinctive deep purple petals and golden markings. Nearby, Balsamroot flowers cluster along the trail, their sunny yellow petals nodding towards the azure sky.

Venturing deeper into the gorge, bunches of Lupines paint swathes of purple and blue across the meadows, while the graceful Columbine flaunts its intricate blooms. Keep an eye out for the vibrant red-orange hues of Indian Paintbrush, a striking contrast against the lush greenery.

A good place to start would be the Mosier Plateau. Yellow Balsamroot and purple Lupine drape the 45-acre plateau every spring. The Mosier Plateau is home to more than 30 types of wildflowers, hunt for desert parsley, cluster lilies, and yellow bells, to name a few.

Lupines (Gray Windust)

As you ascend higher, the landscape transforms, revealing the dainty white blooms of avalanche lilies peeping through the lingering snow patches.

Each step along the trail reveals a new botanical marvel, a reflection of the region’s rich biodiversity and the delicate balance of its ecosystems. Amidst the grandeur of the Columbia Gorge, these wildflowers stand as ephemeral gems, inviting visitors to pause, admire, and appreciate the fleeting beauty of the natural world.

The Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail, has a segment the Two Tunnels Trail that is paved for walking and biking on a car-free trail. Located between the Senator Mark O. Hatfield West and East Trailheads (between Hood River and Mosier) this segment includes over four miles of the State Trail.

Views on the trail, which runs 4.5 miles between Mosier and Hood River, are spectacular in any season.

Not far from Two Tunnels, Rowena Crest is located near the town of Mosier, Rowena Crest Viewpoint is a wildflower garden of delight, The viewpoint is located on a cliff that gives you a sweeping view of the Colombia River Gorge.

From Rowena Crest Trailhead, you can access the 231-acre Tom McCall Preserve which counts more than 300 species of plants among its wide-open meadows and windswept hills. The trail is rated as moderate and is about 3.6-miles round trip. In spring you’ll see the wildflowers everywhere within the first few hundred feet.