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U.S. Forest Service

Pacific Northwest Region Viewing Area


balsamroot with a rainbow in the background over the Columbia River. Balsamroot.

View from the Rowena Overlook over the Columbia River Gorge. Rowena overlook.

McCall Nature Preserve

Forest: Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

Description: This site has beautiful views of the Gorge and in mid to late May is a spectacular display of flowers, such as Balsam root (Balsamorhiza), lupine (Lupinus ssp), and buckwheat (Eriogonum). For those who look more closely one can find shooting stars (Dodecatheon spp), perhaps the rare Meconella, the Columbia frasera (Frasera albicaulis), or the naked broomrape (Orobanche uniflora). Along the trail one comes to a pond with a variety of water flora, such as the yellow water-lilly (Nuphar polysepalum). Not only is the flora special, but the bird life can be rich as well. The Lewis’ woodpecker is often seen perched on one of the old oaks or the Peregrine falcon, which nest in the high basalt cliffs, may pass overhead. This reserve captures any visitor’s attention with the spectacular views of the dramatic scenery of the Gorge.

Safety First: Watch your step and be prepared for windy conditions.

Directions: Head east on the Historic Columbia River Highway from Mosier for about 5 miles until one finds the Oregon State Park’s sign for Rowena Overlook and the McCall Preserve.

Ownership and Management: The Nature Conservancy is the land owner and manager of the Preserve. The Rowena Overlook is Oregon State Parks and adjacent lands are a mix of private and U.S. Forest Service.

Closest Town: Hood River, Oregon.

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