Sometime between mid-April and early May, photographers and nature enthusiasts start making the trek up the Columbia River Gorge to see the wildflowers in bloom. Rowena Crest is a popular spot as is Dog Mountain. Unfortunately Rowena Crest is not dog friendly and well, Dog Mountain is not people friendly…Just kidding! Dog Mountain is great if you enjoy steep hikes, but it’s definitely not a leisurely hike. If you’re looking for a gorgeous wildflower hike where you can bring your dog and ease your way into the hiking season, look no further! Tucked up in the hills of Mosier Oregon is a breathtaking view of the Columbia River from on top of the flower adorned Mosier Plateau. This fairly new trail has only been open since 2013 and is owned by Friends of the Columbia Gorge. Because it’s relatively new, it’s not over run by crowds (yet), so you will likely be one of just a few hikers at the top, especially if you go during the middle of the week.
The hike begins in the town of Mosier, follows Mosier Creek through the community’s Pocket Park and then ends up on Mosier Plateau. Along the way you will wind through a trail of ponderosa pines and oak trees, past a view of Mosier Creek Falls, continuing up a grassy hill of switchbacks until you get to a set of stairs. A few more switchbacks and stairs and you will reach the top. From here on out, the wildflowers become more and more plentiful with each step. At this point you will likely find yourself humming to yourself the famous Sound of Music tune “The hills are alive with the sound of music…” Go ahead and sing…you know you want to!
Once you get to the top your younger kids will likely want to run through the flower meadows, however there are signs posted throughout the trail urging you to stay on the trail to preserve the area for future hikers. It’s also important to keep your youngsters close and away from the steep drop-offs. There are a couple nice flat trails on top that meander through the hillside, giving you even more ways to enjoy the views. Be sure to break out your snacks or enjoy a nice lunch before heading back down.
There are endless angles to photograph flowers at the top of the Mosier Plateau. Make sure to get down low to gain a closer perspective on the wildflowers. Take photos at a distance and then get really close up, singling out one or two blossoms. This gives a much more intimate feel to your images. For even more drama, switch to a shallow depth-of-field, focusing on the one part of the flower that you want to be in focus. Camera settings for the above right image (yellow flower): ISO 320, f4, 1250. Depending on lighting conditions your camera settings may vary.
How to Get There:
Mosier is ocated between Hood River and the Dalles.