Adventures in Oregon: Columbia Hills State Park
**Technically, this should be titled ‘Adventures in Washington’ but just go with it. **
Last spring, I joined a little facebook group interested in Oregon wildflowers. I would see photo after photo of the most amazing flowers and I begggggged/pestered/nagged Andrew to make the long drive up into the heart of the Columbia Gorge so I could see them. Well, a year later, he finally agreed. Maybe it’s because I’m pregnant or maybe it’s because my mom is visiting (or maybe just because he got tired of me asking) he agreed to make the 3.5 hour drive to Columbia Hills State Park, located across the river from the Dalles in Washington.
We chose to cross over into Washington at Portland so we could see the Gorge in a different light and it was certainly beautiful.
Along the way, we saw the lovely Cape Horn (another place I hope to visit in the future).
We eventually pulled into Columbia Hills State Park and set off into one of the most magical and beautiful places I have ever experienced.
Yellow balsamroot and purple lupine blanketed gentle hills and I felt like I should be holding my arms out and spinning around just like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music. (Don’t worry – I didn’t do that. I figured the little human in my belly might not appreciate me losing balance and tumbling down a flower-covered hill.)
See those hills in the photo above? If you look closely, you can see yellow – that’s all flowers (!)
We headed down the path towards a branch of Eightmile Creek. Here, the flowers thinned out but the scenery was just as lovey with rolling green meadows.
Annie paid a quick visit to the creek. I get excited by wildflowers, Annie gets excited by creeks … to each their own.
Sasha hates creeks and could care less about flowers but she sure does love heading down (or up) a trail.
We wandered around, soaking in the beautiful views and being thankful for a sunny day.
Just look at all those gorgeous flowers!! It still blows my mind that God creates such amazing beauty.
I had to include the picture above because Annie absolutely struck a pose when she looked over and saw me. Such a model dog – ha!
Mount Hood looms up to the southwest of the hills. Sadly, clouds had started to take over the sky which means I’ll have to return next year for the classic shot of Mount Hood against a blue sky with wildflowers in the foreground. Oh darn.
After frolicking in the flowers, we stopped at the southern part of the park to check out petroglyphs. Long ago, a Native American village stood on this site and the Lewis and Clark expedition camped there. So much history.
We only saw a portion of the park and I hope one day we can return and camp at the campground so we can really take our time exploring.
A few tips if you plan to go:
- Part of the park is off-limits to dogs. A large area is the Columbia Hills Natural Area Preserve and not the place to take your four-legged companion.
- Check for ticks! If you pay a visit to the creek, be sure to check yourself (and your dogs) for ticks. They love to hang out in this area. As Andrew can testify, it is not a fun surprise to find two of them hanging out on your neck on the drive home.
- Invite me! Just kidding … but seriously.
That wraps up our (first) visit to the wildflowers wonderland of Columbia Hills. If you have the opportunity to visit Oregon in the spring, be sure to put this one at the top of your list!