: Located between the moist, heavily-forested west side of the Cascades and the drier bunch grass prairies of the east, Tom McCall Preserve comes into spectacular bloom every spring (Photo by Jesse Estes).

Wildflower Hikes

May 13, 2012 (Updated March 26, 2015)
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Hiking in spring and early summer is a treasure hunt of color as wildflowers bloom in the meadows and mountains of Oregon. Look for blossoms on these trails and others around the state.

Columbia River Gorge:
Rowena Plateau is an easy, 2-mile round-trip hike across the plateau toward the river. Look for an explosion of Balsamroot, bachelor buttons and white yarrow. From the same parking lot at Tom McCall Nature Preserve, take the steep climb up McCall Point, 3.4 miles round-trip. You’ll see the purple lupine and scarlet Indian paintbrush. Ball Point in the Badger Creek Wilderness is a 7.2-mile journey through the dry eastern foothills up to a sweeping viewpoint at 3,250 feet. Expect the signature Balsamroot, lupine and Indian paintbrush as well as prairie star and Death camus.

Central Oregon:
Located on BLM land just north of Terrebone, Scout Camp Loop is a gorgeous springtime desert hike with views of the Deschutes River Canyon. The 2.2-mile loop is steep, but worth the trip for sightings of goldthread, yellow bell and bitterroot. Iron Mountain Trail in the Willamette National Forest is a scenic 5-mile loop with a 1.4-mile add-on that leads to a beautiful lookout platform. The area is home to more than 300 types of wildflowers, including flax, penstemon, yarrow and saxifrage — all popular with hummingbirds, so look for them, too.

Coast:
The rugged Kings Mountain trail in the Coast Range is a challenging, 5.4-mile round-trip hike. Find beargrass, penstemon, phlox and the rare phantom orchid. The Nature Conservancy’s Cascade Head Preserve offers a 3.4-mile trail to see rare wildflowers, including hairy checkermallow and the Cascade Head catchfly (99 percent of the catchfly’s world population found only here).

And if you’re looking for even more wildflower hikes in Oregon, read Spring in Bloom or Oregon’s Prettiest Wildflower Treks.

About The
Author

Eileen Garvin
Eileen Garvin lives and writes in Hood River. When she’s not hunched over her keyboard or digging in the garden, you can find her mountain biking, kiteboarding, hiking, skiing or camping somewhere in Oregon.

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