A Photographer’s Paradise: McCall Point on Memorial Day

A beautiful sunny Memorial Day with little wind. An early start for a nice outing sounded like a great idea.

I drove to the east side of the Columbia River Gorge to the Rowena Crest Viewpoint. Basalt cliffs, oak grasslands and interesting trails make it a pleasurable hiking area in the spring.

I headed south through an open, relatively flat area for one-half mile. Wild onion, cluster lilies, golden balsamroot and purple larkspur created swaths of color on the green plateau.

Then the Trail became serious, gaining 1,000 feet in a little over one mile before reaching the top of McCall Point at 1,700 feet. The views extended for miles up and down the Gorge.

For a challenge I followed game trails and over-grown roads on a three-mile loop back to the Trailhead. After one mile I dropped off the cliffs into a steep canyon, following an old logging road through an oak forest with a few mature Ponderosa pines intermixed.

Eventually, the old roads led to a large talus slope with a rough trail leading back to the plateau. It made for an enjoyable five-mile hike with 1,500 feet of elevation gain.

The wildflowers and butterflies were truly spectacular, but I also also enjoyed the multiple fence lizards and a gopher snake along the way.

Anise Swallowtail Butterfly

Sticky-stem Penstemon

Looking up a hazy Columbia River from the Rowena Plateau

Western Blue Flax


Fence Lizard basking in the sunshine

Past their prime golden Balsamroot and purple Lupine lining the trail up the mountain

Pine Squirrel with a delicious snack

Bi-colored Cluster Lily

Mt. Hood from the summit of McCall Point

Gopher Snake in the grass

Bachelor’s Button

McCall Point

Boisduval’s Blue Butterfly doing some puddlin’ (thanks for the ID Caitlin)

Harsh Paintbrush



Categories: Columbia River Gorge HikesTags: , , , , ,


  1. Just beautiful, John!

  2. Beautiful shots.

  3. Great photo of the fence lizard. Looks plump — pregnant perhaps? Are they live bearers or do they lay eggs?

  4. Just beautiful. I love when the wildflowers are blooming.

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