Trail of the Month: Mosier Plateau

Wildflowers, waterfalls, and panoramic views—what more could you ask for? Plus 3 springtime travel ideas not to miss!

By Brian Barker April 2, 2015 Published in the April 2015 issue of Portland Monthly

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Balsamroot blooms at the top of Mosier Plateau.

Image: Brian Barker

Occupying the sunbathed hillsides above the eponymous eastern Gorge burg, the Mosier Plateau Trail is a virtual garden bed of spring wildflowers. In fact, with more than 30 varieties of blooms—including yellow balsamroots, lupines, purple bachelor buttons, and pink corydalis—cropping up here, flower species may outnumber hikers. Officially opened in 2013, this scenic ramble is still too new to feature in many guidebooks, making it a crowd-free alternative to well-trodden wildflower beacons like Dog Mountain or Rowena Crest. 

Begin from the south side of the bridge in Mosier, where a bench marks the trailhead. The path winds past a small pioneer cemetery before overlooking Mosier Creek Falls, a hidden, multitiered gem cascading above thin plunge pools. Continue climbing the backside of the plateau via a series of steep switchbacks and stair steps. Atop the rise, a wide overlook, complete with stone benches, commands a panorama of flower-adorned hillsides tumbling down to the Columbia River. And make your plans to return in July and August, when Mosier Creek provides an ideal swimming hole for the dog days of summer.  

Post-Hike Watering Hole: Sharing space with 10 Speed Coffee, Dirty Fingers Bicycle Repair is a Hood River locals’ secret for happy-hour brews. Look for a rotating selection of IPAs and local pints for $3 from 5 to 6 p.m. daily. 

Mosier Creek Falls and wildflowers blanket the plateau's flanks.

Image: Brian Barker


Splendiferous Springtime Travels

Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest
(Mar 20–May 3) The Northwest’s most mind-blowing technicolor blooms begin to pop in late March at Woodburn's 40-acre, tulip-laden paradise—don’t miss them. 

Hood River Valley Blossom Time
(Apr 11–26) Kicking off with the Hood River Hard-Pressed Cider Fest, this month’s festivities mark that magical moment when the Hood River Fruit Loop bursts to life with blossoming cherry, apple, and pear orchards. 

North Willamette Wine Trail Weekend
(Apr 11–12) In one deliciously boozy weekend, taste your way through new releases, reserve labels, and barrel tastings at 23 of the Willamette Valley’s top wineries.

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