Hike of the Month: Mosier Plateau

Although the window to appreciate this nature preserve’s wildflowers is brief, hikers are also rewarded with vistas of a waterfall and the mighty Columbia River Gorge.

Light purple lupine flowers grow alongside a hiking trail at Mosier Plateau.

More than 30 species of wildflowers bloom at Mosier Plateau from March to May.

Photo by Ben McBee, PDXtoday

Table of Contents

The Gorge Towns to Trails project is a monumental plan to create a 200-mile loop on both sides of the Columbia River Gorge, linking communities and natural areas. On this crown, Mosier Plateau is the stunning jewel, a 45-acre clifftop preserve with soaring vistas and wildflowers.


Hikers are treated to views of Mosier Falls early on.

Photo by Ben McBee, PDXtoday

Quick facts

  • Starting point: Mosier Plateau Trail
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 3.5 miles
  • Route type: Out-and-back
  • Elevation gain: 600 ft
  • Trail surface: Dirt
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Open: Year-round
  • Dog friendly: Yes, on leash

Brief overview

Take a short walk across the Mosier Creek Bridge and up into Pocket Park, where you’ll find a pioneer cemetery with tombstones dating as far back as 1809. The trail gradually climbs among the oaks, before cresting the cape via several stairs. On top, the views open up with a straight-ahead look at the impressive Coyote Wall rock feature.

Why you should try it

The rainbow of blooms speaks for itself, with splashes of yellow balsamroot and purple lupine the main players on the palette. Although Mosier Plateau is a bit of a drive from Portland — about 70 miles — it’s a worthy alternative to other dreamy wildflower destinations like Dog Mountain, which requires a permit, is very long, and much steeper.

Alternating images of Mosier Plateau.

Mosier Plateau is a photographer’s paradise.

Photo by Ben McBee, PDXtoday

Pro tips

The best wildflower viewing is March through May, with peak color in April. There are plenty of nearby food and beverage options when you get off the trail. Check out the Mexican food cart La Vaquita Taqueria beside Mosier Totem Pole Plaza, head down the road for a sip at a winery, or stop at Gorges Brewing Co.'s three-story flagship location in Cascade Locks.

Let us know

Did you try this hike? Do you know of one we should check out? Send us your thoughts and recommendations — or check out our other monthly hiking guides.

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