Columbia Botanical Gardens and Dalton Lake, St. Helens

This small nature park is a delightful springtime stop, and a cool oasis in the summer. A narrow footpath lined with trillium, bleeding-heart, and other wildflowers descends into a ravine with fern-covered basalt outcrops, then winds up the opposite slope. Dense willows at the bottom are buzzing with Rufous Hummingbird by April. Orange-crowned Warbler and other riparian species can be expected later in the nesting season. Nearby Dalton Lake hosts waterfowl, plus woodpeckers and songbirds in the surrounding woods. Follow a paved trail from the Columbia Humane Society, and hike dirt path leading to a cliff overlook.

Botanical Gardens: In St. Helens from US Hwy 30 near MP 29, turn NE onto Liberty Rd. Go 0.4 mi to junction with West St. then 0.1 mi further. Turn L (NW) on 6th St. for 0.6 mi, and park on R side of road by sign for Columbia Nature Trail. Dalton Lake: Immediately after turning NE onto Liberty Rd from US Hwy 30, turn L on Oregon St and go 0.3 mi to Columbia Humane Society, from which a trail leads to overlook.