Columbia Hills / The Dalles Mountain Ranch

AreaColumbia Gorge (east - WA)
Best time to visitApril
Blooming NowUnknown
Elevation100-3200 feet
Trail Info6.5 miles round-trip, 1000 feet elevation gain (Crawford Oaks lower loop)
5.0 miles round-trip, 1180 feet elevation gain from upper gate to Stacker Butte
 PLANT LIST AVAILABLE
 Oregon Hikers Field Guide information
DogsPROHIBITED. Please respect this location by leaving your dog at home.
 Washington State Discover Pass required!

Description

Columbia Hills State Park is located on the Washington side of the Columbia River in the eastern Gorge, across from The Dalles. In April the hillsides turn yellow with carpets of Northwest Balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata), interspersed with patches of blue Columbia Gorge Lupine (Lupinus latifolius var. thompsonianii). There are terrific views of the Columbia Gorge (and Mount Hood on a clear day).

In addition to the profusion of lupine and balsamroot, there are three rare species located in this area: The Dalles Mountain Buttercup (Ranunculus triternatus); Douglas' draba (Cusickiella douglasii), and Hot-Rock Penstemon (Penstemon deustus).

The lower (Crawford Oaks) hiking loop is dominated by Balsamroot and Lupine. Other wildflowers that bloom along that loop include: Barestem Desert Parsley (Lomatium nudicaule), Suksdorf`s Desert Parsley (Lomatium suksdorfii), Pungent desert parsley (Lomatium grayi), Rigid Fiddleneck (Amsinckia retrorsa), Fleabane (Erigeron sp.), Weak stem cryptantha (Cryptantha flaccida), Ballhead waterleaf (Hydrophyllum capitatum var. thompsonii), Big-head clover (Trifolium macrocephalum), small-flowered blue-eyed Mary (Collinsia parviflora), Bicolor Triteleia (Triteleia grandiflora var. howellii), Smooth Prairie Star (Lithophragma glabrum), Showy Phlox (Phlox speciosa), Spreading Phlox (Phlox diffusa), Gold Star (Crocidium multicaule), and Northwestern Saxifrage (Saxifraga integrifolia). Grass Widows (Olsynium douglasii) and Yellow Bells (Fritillaria pudica) bloom earlier in the season (first half of March).

Directions

Take Interstate 84 east to The Dalles. Exit onto US Highway 197 and drive north across the Columbia River. (No toll is required on The Dalles Bridge.)

Turn right onto Washington SR-14. You now have several options:

1. For the new lower (Crawford Oaks) loop, you can use either the upper or lower trailhead:

2. For the upper area (Stacker Butte Road), drive east approximately one mile, then turn left onto The Dalles Mountain Road at the sign for Columbia Hills State Park. After turning left, continue straight on gravel Dalles Mountain Road. Drive on the gravel road for 2.7 miles from SR-14, where you will see a sign marking the boundary of Columbia Hills State Park. In another 0.6 mile, you will come to an abrupt junction with several barns and other buildings ahead of you. Turn left up the steep hill, and continue for 1.4 miles to the locked gate and kiosk. There is room for 4-5 cars. (If this parking area is full, backtrack to the overflow parking area on the west side of the gravel road, slightly uphill from the ranch, then walk up the road.) Park here, and walk as far up the hill as you like (all the way to Stacker Butte if your time and energy permits), gawking at the flowers every step of the way. Please stay on the road. There are NO facilities here.

Trip Reports

DateSubmitted by
05/07/2017Zachary
05/02/2017Steve Luther
04/16/2017Greg Lief
04/10/2017Greg Lief
02/26/2017Greg Lief
Reports from previous years
04/15/2016Bridget Buckley
04/06/2016Greg Lief
04/02/2016Greg Lief
03/12/2016Greg Lief
04/04/2015Greg Lief
04/03/2015Steve Luther
03/29/2015Greg Lief
03/14/2015Greg Lief
05/31/2014Ron Boatwright
04/19/2014Greg Lief
04/11/2014Greg Lief
05/05/2013Greg Lief
05/06/2012Greg Lief
04/22/2012Greg Lief
05/13/2011Cheryl Hill
04/23/2011Greg Lief
04/17/2011Darlisa Black
05/02/2010Greg Lief
05/01/2009Greg Lief
04/19/2009Greg Lief
05/09/2008Greg Lief
04/26/2008Greg Lief
04/13/2008Greg Lief
04/20/2007Cheryl Hill
04/08/2007Greg Lief
03/25/2007Greg Lief
03/11/2007Greg Lief

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Photo Gallery


Lupine and Balsamroot at The Dalles Mountain

Lupine and Balsamroot at The Dalles Mountain

Lupine and Balsamroot at The Dalles Mountain

Lupine and Balsamroot at The Dalles Mountain

Harsh Paintbrush at The Dalles Mountain

Phlox and Paintbrush at The Dalles Mountain

Looking south into Oregon from The Dalles Mountain


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