Viewing wildflowers and tasting delicious wines

May 27, 2016

Bartender Pouring White Wine from Bottle for Outdoor Winery Tasting
Spring wildflowers adorn many of the hikes near our cabins – and in our meadow. All surrounded by the many wineries pouring their delicious creations. April, May, and June are the prime months to view our wildflowers, and the warmer weather definitely beckons you outdoors. Rowena Crest in Spring Wildflower hikes Some easy and moderate hikes known for wildflowers in the Gorge include:
  • Angels Rest is a 5-mile out and back trail with some moderate elevation gain. The 270-degree view from the bluff is worth the climb.
  • Balfour-Klickitat is an ideal trail for walkers as it’s only .75 miles on a loop. This trail isn’t only popular for its wildflower viewing but for its bird watching as well. The area welcomes many migratory birds, bald eagles, and woodpeckers!
  • Cape Horn, Upper is open in the summer while the lower portion of the trail is closed to protect the peregrine falcon habitat. From February 1 to July 15, you must only use the upper trail or risk a fine as high as $5,000. The upper trail is a moderate 5-mile hike with marvelous views of the Gorge and wide expanses of wildflowers.
  • Catherine Creek is renowned for its wildflowers and is another excellent option for hikers looking for easy trails. This trail is a 1.4-mile loop with very little elevation gain.
  • Dog Mountain is a popular trail and one of our most recommended trails for its stunning views and as a prime destination for wildflowers in May and June. The loop is 6.9 miles and mostly strenuous.
  • Elowah Falls is another popular and relatively easy trail at 1.6-miles out and back. Not only can you enjoy the beautiful wildflowers on this hike, you’ll be greeted at the end with a 289-foot waterfall!
  • Horsetail Falls Loop is another easy loop at 2.3 miles with stunning views of our spring flowers and Ponytail Falls.
  • Mosier Plateau is a newer trail, having been completed in 2013, but provides amazing views and is home to more than 30 different flower species. It’s a 3.5-mile out and back trail.
  • Multnomah Falls Wahkeena Falls Loop is a popular choice for hikers because of the plethora of waterfalls along the trail and the dazzling display of wildflowers in the spring. This is a moderate 4.8-mile hike with some decent elevation gain.
  • Upper McCord Creek Falls provides gorgeous views of the wildflowers and waterfalls on an easy 2.2-mile out and back trail.
All the hikes on this list are free and open to the public and don’t require any state or federal passes or fees. Many of these hikes are also dog-friendly but do require that they be leashed. Wine tasting Though any season is perfect for sipping new wines and learning more about the wine making prowess of our region, there’s something special about enjoying a tasting and knowing the summer sun is waiting for you on the drive back to Carson Ridge! We especially love wine tasting in May as it’s Oregon Wine Month! There are a variety of events and dinners to attend, or you could just purchase one of our Oregon wines off our wine rack and enjoy it on your porch with your loved one. The Columbia River Gorge Wine Country is home to 40 different grape varietals and has produced some extraordinary and award-winning whites and reds. We’ll let the Columbia Gorge Winegrowers explain for themselves what makes this region so remarkable.

Credit: Kelly Turso
Credit: Kelly Turso
We talked to our friends at Domaine Pouillon Winery to get the scoop on what to expect this summer in terms of popular styles and tips on visiting their winery. Juliet told us, “Come prepared with questions about the wine making process – many tasting rooms in the Columbia Gorge are staffed by the winemakers and cellar personnel. Wine tasting should also be an adventure! Make sure you try something you’ve never had or wouldn’t normally buy in a restaurant or store. You might find a new favorite!” With 20 wineries within a half hour of Carson Ridge it can be overwhelming to pick which ones to visit. Just come by and ask us for some advice on where to start or visit our nearby wineries’ websites to learn more about them and the wine they produce. If both of you wish to enjoy the wine tastings at all of your stops, we highly recommend Martin’s Gorge Winery Tours  or Columbia Wine Tours to provide comfortable and safe transportation between the wineries. Don’t forget to pick up a bottle to bring back to your cabin!