Columbia Gorge – Tom McCall Preserve (#22)

January 8, 2011
Info: (from my Oregon Hike Book) More than 300 varieties of plants grow on the dramatic oak grasslands above the Columbia River and Rowena Dell. Thanks to the Nature Conservancy, this fabulous preserve – named for former Oregon Governor McCall, a conservationist-is open to everyone. Spring and early summer mark some of the showiest wildflower shows anywhere, though poison oak has a grip here, too. Lava flows and ash deposits coupled with massive floods have produced this strange mound-and-swale topography that baffles even the experts on that sort of thing. Here you’ll find meadowlarks, the Oregon state bird, as well as canyon wrens, Pacific chorus frogs and mule deer. Flowers include grass widows, prairie stars, lupine, Indian paintbrush, balsamroot, milk vetch, shooting stars, and waterleaf, several of which are found only in the Gorge. 
Directions: Drive east of Hood River five miles on I-84 to the Mosier exit (Exit 69) and follow “Scenic Loop” signs 6.6 miles to the Rowena Crest Viewpoint.
 Jenn’s View: Great hike. All relatively flat and total miles roundtrip, I would say, was about 2.5 miles. I could be wrong. Too many conflicting signs and had a not so great headache happening. Saw some wildlife and glad that I didn’t see any snakes. Sorry, snakes are NOT my friend. 🙂 We did this hike with the McCall Point trail and looked at the Rowena Crest Viewpoint. I was a little disappointed to find out that no dogs are allowed on the trail. I understand that they want to keep the “preservation” but it was obvious people didn’t mind the sign cuz there were evidence that there were dogs.

So, Makaila decided to stay back while Scott and I did this quick hike. 

She did say that she had her iPod to keep her company 🙂

So we hit the first plateau. I was amazed to see that there were quite a few people hiking out today. Probably because it was a clear day and sunny! Still cold but SUNNY! I even saw a lady with a nice long skirt, nylons, flat shoes, nice jacket – looks like her Sunday best doing this hike. 

This lady was taking pictures at the edge of the plateau. I think her boyfriend/husband/significant other/friend was afraid of the edge cuz he was no where near her. Hmmm, sounds familiar, right Scott?

There was a small trail off to the right before the plateau where I got these great shots!

I’m obsessed with that double bridge
OH NO! The sun is going down quick! Like I mentioned above, he won’t go near the edge 🙂

Went around on to the plateau to take more shots of that bridge. I knew if I took enough pictures, I would get one good one. 🙂

The double bridge…Thought it was pretty cool but just couldn’t get the right “shot” Click on it to get the “bigger” picture
Beautiful Columbia River!

On our hike to the plateau, we tried to take a self picture. Hmmm, didn’t work. I think it still turned out cute, even with 1/2 the face. 

You definitely don’t want to click on this one to make it big. I might scare you!

Started heading further down the trail. You end up hitting 2 small ponds but we really didn’t stop to take a look. No biggy. Was getting a little tired any ways but you get great pictures of the gorge!

I tried to yell to the boatsmen where they can find this picture! Yelled “!” I don’t think they heard me though. Bummer. One of my favorite shots! Click on it..

So, we thought the trail looped all around but we came pretty much to the end of the road. We turned around and headed back to the car.

On my way out of the gorge, we took a few more shots of the Gorge and said our goodbyes!

Jenn’s Recommendation: Wait until spring but great hike for family and kids of all ages. Remember, no dogs!


Columbia Gorge – Multnomah Falls (#4)

May 15, 2010
Info: (                 Distance: 1.6 miles                          Moderate/Difficult         
Fed by underground springs from Larch Mountain, the flow over the falls varies, usually it’s highest during winter and spring.
Multnomah Falls offers one of the best places in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area to study geology exposed by floods.  Five flows of Yakima basalt are visible in the falls’ cliff face.
From the information center, visitors can follow the 1.2 mile trail that climbs approximately 600 feet to the top of Multnomah Falls. This trails provides great views of the falls and the Columbia River Gorge. 
Once at the top of the falls, hikers can continue onward for six miles to the top of Larch Mountain or take the six mile Wahkeena Loop trail.
Jenn’s View:  I love the Columbia Gorge, even the famous Multnomah Falls Trail. The crowds is horrendous because it is one of the most touristy spot in Oregon.  Joyce and I did the Wahkeena Loop Trail and started there and ended up going down the Multnomah Falls Trail.  Go view that blog.  This particular day, I took one of my very good friends, Melanie to the Falls.  She has lived in Oregon most of her life and has never been. She had a blast and hopefully will take her dog Bandit and her hubby, Kris to the falls.  This site ( says the trail is 2.2 miles. I’ll go with that.

Getting to the first bridge was easy…after that it’s a pretty steady, uphill climb. It was beautiful day and all the dogs behaved quite well.

Going up or going down? Can’t remember

You do hit the first falls up close. These were taken on the way down. Camera was getting a bit wet. The falls spray felt good but then I started getting cold. he he.

A few views from the top while you are climbing. Scenery is gorgeous. I can see why people flock to this area!

One of the views from the top

We took quite a few breaks.  The kids got tired, I got tired, Melanie got tired. Plus there were so many people on the trail that it was hard to get up.  The path / trail is not that wide for people going up as well as the people going down.  They need traffic control up there!

My bestie friend and I taking a break
Once you get to the top, you can play in the stream/creek.
I was hoping for a ice cream stand awaiting for us at the top but there were none :(. So, we played for awhile at the top.
Wow, didn’t know I was such a good photographer. 🙂
Love this picture of Melanie and Bandit!

After running down and getting back in the car, we stopped by a view point off I-84. Gives ya a little history of Oregon.

Highly recommend this hike, especially if you are new to Oregon. It’s absolutely beautiful.

Directions: Drive Interstate 84 east of Portland 31 miles to Multnomah Falls exit 31, park, and walk under the overpass.