Tom McCall Point at Rowena Crest

tom mccall point rowena crestHow do you get Tana to do something?  Tell me it’s going to fun.   It works wonders, even if it’s me telling myself it.  When I think something is going to be fun it spurs me to do crazy stuff I wouldn’t otherwise do.  Like take a 2 mile hike.  I would usually say, “HA! No Way!”  But the mystery of the McCall point walk has always held appeal for me.  Where does it go?  This trail looked like it followed along the cliff side so it just had to be beautiful.  So today I told my mom that there was a hike I have always  wanted to do at Rowena crest, and since it was sunny, how about it?  She said yes and we drove up to the viewpoint.

Rowena crest is a beautiful viewpoint located on the curvy historic Hwy.  It has been used for car commercials, and is a frequent stop for visitors.  It has two trails that start from the viewpoint, the McCall point trail and the Rowena plateau trail.  Today we did the McCall point trail.
tom mccall point rowena crest grass widow
We started the walk off by parking at the viewpoint.  As we started the trail we were greeted by three kids running at us.  I laughed and stepped out of the way. I was glad to see such happy faces, that meant the trail was a good one.  I read the starting sign and that is when I learned the trail to the point is 2 miles long.  Eeekkk.  But it was a such a beautiful day that it filled my lungs with vigor and I trooped along.

The trail started in a field full of purple wildflowers.
tom mccall point rowena crest  grasswidow
As the trail curved around the cliff and started to climb we met with trail builders.  They were kind enough to stop for awhile for a chat.  They explained that they were building a new trail due to the erosion of the old one.  Right next to the build site was a sign saying trail closed for restoration.  I asked how long the trail would be closed but they assured me that it wasn’t closed.  The section they were working on was closed, but not the main trail.  Before we continued on I asked if they knew the name of the beautiful purple wildflowers.  “Grass widows.”  I wish I knew the background of the name, since it’s so sad, but I can’t find anything despite research.

What I loved about the trail was how varying it was. It doesn’t seem hard at first but then you’ll come to a point where you will see how slanted the trail really is sometimes.  And across the valley is a hill that helps you compare.  Sometimes the trail followed the cliff side, giving breathtaking views, other times it showcased the Rowena plateau.  At the start of the trail you can barely see Mt. Adams top, but as you gradually climb you start to see more and more of the mountain.  When you reach the end of the trail then you start seeing beyond the plateau into Mosier and Hood River.  And finally at the very end, you see beautiful Mt. Hood.  And for a panoramic shot, a view of Mt. Adams as well.
tom mccall point rowena plateau view
The descent from the trail end was as tricky as it was going up.  There are spots along the trail that are pure mud.  At one point mom cut a corner and walked across the grass to avoid the mud.  I lectured her on how we weren’t supposed to do that, but then decided I better too since I had been precariously close to falling.  I reached the bottom of the short cut and thought I was home free when my foot slipped and I fell hard.  I was ok, and tried to be even more careful after that, but both Rodney and I took some more tumbles.

columbia gorge desert parsley

Columbia gorge desert parsley

Is the trail hard?  I wouldn’t rate it as hard just because of the fact that I could do it and didn’t even whine once.  I am not in shape and never exercise.  Rodney was also able to do it, without having to ride some ones back, and he’s 6.  I wont tell you mom’s age or opinion but she was able to  manage just fine as well.

When you visit Rowena crest take time to explore either or both of trails.
rowena crest historic hwy


Hi! My name is Tana Buckminster and I am a travel writer for my travel blog, Road Trips With My Mom. I like to go on adventures, visit museums, and see new places. Come follow me on my adventures!

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