Just a short hour and half drive from Portland, Or is that PNW road everyone’s talking about: Rowena Crest, it’s a perfect horseshoe curve along the road heading through the Dalles and the Columbia River Gorge and It’s beautiful! Just a road you say, but there is so much more, from the wildflowers blowing in the wind to the Hiking trails this place is such a gem.
Take I-84 East through the Gorge exit 69 will take you to Hwy 30 toward Mosier which is the most pleasant drive through windy back roads where you can see a definite change in scenery from lush forests to more dry grasslands. Farmland and orchards line the road and beautiful open meadows full of wildflowers greet you at every turn it is hard to be patient. Shortly after you wind through the grasslands on Hwy 30 you will finally arrive at your destination Rowena Crest Viewpoint. There is plenty of parking around the loop and down the road a bit on more crowded days.
We headed to Rowena on a gloomy Sunday hoping to see more views and less people, no luck there. As soon as we got through the Cascades there was nothing but blue skies and distant clouds as far as the eye can see, it was truly magnificent. The iconic viewpoint looks east towards the Dalles, the river flows in front of you down through Mayer State Park and the sky goes on forever it seems.
After you have taken in the sights and snapped your infamous Instagram shot of #thatpnwroad head across to the Rowena Plateau Trailhead, it’s a short easy one, only 1.5 mi or for a little more challenge head up McCall Point which is a 3.6 mi hike round trip up an old wagon road where it meets up with the actual trail after a short half mile through the wildflower fields. Be careful as this area does have poison oak and ticks so be sure to wear long pants and sleeves if it’s not too hot out.