Slip away from the crowds (and the clouds, if you’re lucky) at this spot between Hood River and The Dalles. Tom McCall Preserve is tucked just above Mayer State Park, and it offers travelers an array of delights – from groves of scrub oak, to fields of dainty wildflowers. And on clear days, one can also catch a glimpse of several mountains.
The Rowena Plateau is an excellent place for a short walk, but a short and steep hike to Tom McCall Point that is the highlight of the region. The trail is only 2.9 miles out and back, and is mostly composed of sharp switchbacks, which can make it a tough trek. But follow the trail through, and you’ll see both Mt. Adams and Mt. Defiance, not to mention lovely stretches of wildflowers and forest. It’s best viewed in the summertime, and that’s lucky, because this trail is only open from May 1 – Oct. 31.
Tom McCall Preserve is managed in part by The Nature Conservancy, so dogs, horses and camping are not allowed. Interpretive hikes are led in the spring by the Conservancy, and the area is monitored year-round because of its wealth of plant species.