Trail

Rewena Crest Plateau, Mayer State Park, Oregon

The Dalles, OR
Length: 1.00 mi.
Type: Out & Back

About This Trail

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ACTIVITIES: Hiking, wildflower viewing, photography

LENGTH OF HIKE: 1 mile

OUT AND BACK OR LOOP: Out and back

DIFFICULTY OF TERRAIN: Easy

ELEVATION GAIN: No

PARKING FEE/PASS: No

TOILETS: No

CHANGING TABLE: No

NURSING BENCHES: No

DOGS ALLOWED: No

BIKES/HORSES/MOTORS ON TRAIL: No

CELL RECEPTION: Yes

DRINKING WATER AVAILABLE: No

POTENTIAL CHILD OR BABY HAZARDS: Cliffs, heavy poison oak, rattlesnakes,
ticks

GEAR SUGGESTIONS: Waterproof shoes, boots

If you love wildflowers, this is one of the most toddler-friendly, easy hikes you can do in the Columbia Gorge. Located at the edge of the rain shadow, where the lush green of the gorge meets the desert just past Hood River near Mosier, turn uphill for a short windy drive off of I-84 that leads to an easy pull-off at the Tom McCall Preserve. We are mentioning the windiness of the road here because it’s 2.5 miles with eight very intense switchback curves, so if you have a little one who is prone to carsickness, drive slowly.

Once you arrive, you’ll notice that there are two trailheads at this location. One has some serious elevation, is about 3 miles, and has a spectacular view but is only baby-wearing friendly. This is called McCall Point Hike and is open from May to October only. If you do Rowena Plateau and have a sleeping baby or are looking for more length in your adventure, this it totally worth doing, though there’s a climb.

Rowena Plateau is the friendlier toddler option but not to be missed in the gorge. This hike will give you a spectacular view of the gorge, amazing wildflowers, frogs, and bird-watching galore and a fair bit of muddy puddle stomping around the two
little ponds that toddlers can’t help but stop to splash in.

The hike is short but perfect for new walkers because it’s mostly flat and a  completely welldefined trail cutting through the lush fields of green and a brilliant rainbow quilt of flowers. Leaving from the parking lot, head west across a flat, open
field toward the cliffy horizon. At about 0.5 mile, you will come to a little pond filled with thumbnailsized fluorescent green frogs. Definitely stop to play with these little guys. They blend well into the vibrant landscape, but if you pause and look in the
pond, you’ll see them swimming and hanging out along the edges. Continue along this trail for another 0.5 mile and you will come to a clear end of the trail. Just before you reach the end, stop at a little flat spot before a rocky patch (completely toddler doable) for a snack and water break. Here you can really take in the
magnificent view of the gorge in both directions. This end part is a little cliffy, so be sure to keep an eye on little walkers, especially if they are runners.

Visit this hike earlier in the spring and the landscape is an explosion of tiny yellow flowers that are about the size of a fingernail. As spring progresses toward summer, the landscape pops with deep purple lupine and bigger yellow flowers called arrowleaf balsamroot, also known as the “Oregon sunflower.” These golden flowers were used by Native Americans in the area as food and medicine.

Note that there are no bathrooms at this hike, so you will definitely want to bring a toddler potty if you are in training mode. Also, with over 800 wildflower species in the gorge, including a handful found nowhere else, this very accessible spot is definitely well trafficked because of ease of access. But there’s plenty of parking and space for all. Try to get to the McCall Preserve early to beat the crowds.

INSIDER’S TIP
On the weekends in the peak of the wildflower blooms, there’s usually a naturalist from the Nature Conservancy camped out by the entrance of Rowena Plateau. Make sure to stop and ask questions because these volunteers are often a
wealth of information about the amazing wildflowers in the area. They also lead interpretive walks on the weekends. Plan to hike this in the spring or very early summer before the heat hits, because there is zero shade.

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Trail Features

Seasons Fall, Spring, Summer, and Winter
Surface type Dirt
Stroller friendly No
ADA accessible No
Water fountains No
Bathrooms No
Cell reception Excellent
Pet friendly No
Nearby convenience store No
Camping Nearby No
Emergency support
within 5 miles
No

Trail highlights

Viewpoint and Wildlife Viewing

WHY IT’S A FAVORITE
“Rowena Crest was the first hike our family did in the gorge when we moved to Oregon. This easy hike displays the absolutely stunning beauty of cliffs, mountains, foliage, wild-flowers, and greenery in the Columbia River Gorge. A perfect day to me would consist of a hike at Rowena Crest and then visiting a local brewery with mountain views all around in Hood River.” —BECCA HARRISON

Trail Contributor

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Hike it Baby Trail Guide is managed by the Family Trail Guide team. If a trail has been “abandoned” by the initial owner, it gets adopted by the team. Also, if there are no trails in the area, the Family Trail Guide team researches trails that are family friendly in the area to insure that hikes cover all areas where Hike it Baby hikes.

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