First Wild Orchid of the Year

In late March my destination was the eastern foothills of the Coastal Mountains.

A 14-mile up-and-down trail travels around Henry Hagg Lake, the impoundment behind Scoggins Valley Dam.

There are five creeks flowing into the 2 1/2 mile long reservoir, providing outstanding habitat for song birds, wildflowers and butterflies.

Early colorful wildflowers were strutting their stuff. And, to my delight, a handful of  fairy slippers (wild orchids) were in bloom.

People from all over the world come to the Columbia River Gorge to see fairy slippers in early spring. If you would like to do the same, take the Mitchell Point turnoff from I-84 and explore the area to the west.

In another couple of weeks the orchids should be ubiquitous in the shaded forest duff throughout the central Gorge.

Or, you can follow my lead and enjoy a wonderful hike around Henry Hagg Lake.


Calypso Orchid (Fairy Slipper)

Calypso Orchid (Fairy Slipper)


Trillium (Wild Lily)

Yes, that's the muddy trail

Yes, that’s the muddy trail

Ground Squirrel

A cute California Ground Squirrel

Fishermen on the lake

Fishermen on the lake

Flowering Red Currant

Red-flowering Currant

Great Hound's Tongue

Great Hound’s Tongue

Stellar Jay

Stellar Jay



Calypso Orchid

Calypso Orchid




Categories: Oregon Coastal Mountain HikingTags: , , , , , ,


  1. LOVE that photo of the jay! Were the creek crossings difficult, and how much of the trail was as muddy as your photo showed?


    • Stellar Jays have such wonderful colors. And, getting the light glinting in its eye always helps.
      All the creek crossing have bridges. But, much of the trail is muddy. Interestingly enough, they are moving big portions of the trail further up the hill and away from the boggy areas next to the lake. It will make it nicer for the mountain bikers, but will reduce the beauty of the area for hikers.


  2. At least one Calypso (=Fairyslipper) Orchid has bloomed at Tualatin Hills Nature Park in Beaverton!


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