Hike Distance: 8.3 miles Yearly Hike Distance: 636.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 1729 feet Yearly Elevation Gain: 84250 feet
It’s that time of year when the Lupine and Balsam Root flowers bloom in profusion on the east side of the Columbia River Gorge! Even though the flowers are out the Columbia Hills State Park is such a beautiful area to visit.
The weather was absolutely fantastic with clear skies and temps. in the 60’s. With the nice weather came the crowds, and it’s not surprising. We almost didn’t get a parking space because of the crowds, and ended up parking the car on the grass. It was unfortunate to find out that we can no longer park along Hwy 14. 🙂
There’s a beautiful loop you can hike around the lower section of the Columbia Hills Park. We headed out in a counter-clockwise direction, which gives fanstastic views of the Columbia River. We also got stellar views of Mt. Hood and Horsethief Butte! The waterfall is very close to the parking area, and the overlook is so amazing, along with the drop-off.
As we continued to hike we reached the Dalles Mountain Ranch. This ranch is a rather spooky place to visit, and I love the effect it has on me. There is even a cemetary and covered info center with photographs. When in the ranch area we visited the old car that is sitting in the field, which is full of flowers. The pictures in this area are iconic, and show up in many places online.
Not trying to speak little of it, the flower show in Columbia Hills State Park is second to none! Every where you turn there is another display that must be photographed. I took close to 100 pictures and had much trouble sorting through what I wanted to put on this trip report. There is also a hike that goes to the top of Stacker Butte, in this park, which we will do next week. The flowers come out later, on that hike, due to the 2000 foot elevation gain.
This was a spectacular day and such perfection. I can’t wait to come back and enjoy this amazing state park. 🙂