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Six wildflower hikes near Portland, Oregon

Located just an hour outside of Portland, the Columbia River Gorge is a must visit destination for spring wildflowers in the Pacific Northwest! From April to May the hills of the Gorge are covered in yellow arrowleaf balsamroot (they look like sunflowers!), purple lupine, and bright red paintbrush flowers. The wildflowers make for a stunning display! We spent the weekend (April 26-28, 2024) chasing wildflowers, and have rounded up the BEST hikes to check out. Below you can find details on six beautiful wildflower hikes near Portland, Oregon.

You can visit NOW (late April/early May) for the best conditions, or save these wildflower hikes for 2025!

Six amazing wildflower hikes in the Columbia River Gorge

Below you can find the details for six wildflower hikes near Portland, Oregon. We also share leave no trace tips to help you have a low-impact visit!

Leave no trace tips

Before we share trail details we want to remind you to please leave no trace when visiting these hikes. Our biggest piece of advice is to stay on the trail to prevent crushing both current and future wildflowers. Additionally, please do not sit in the grass next to the flowers for pictures, as this can damage the roots of the existing flowers. It can also compact the soil, preventing future wildflowers from germinating. Picking flowers also means less food for beneficial insects like bees, and fewer flowers for next year. You can read more about the benefits of wildflowers, and why you should protect them, here.

Even if you don’t care about crushing wildflowers you’re still going to want to stay on the trail in order to avoid the plentiful poison oak that can be found along all of these hikes. 

Now, let’s get on to the trails!

Memaloose Hills

Length: 2.8 miles | Elevation gain: 600 feet | Trail type: Loop | Fees: None | AllTrails link

This is my favorite spot for wildflowers in the Columbia River Gorge! This hike is relatively short, easy to moderate, and takes you through both open meadows and lush forested areas filled with beautiful oaks. This hike also has a wide variety of flower species beyond just the yellow arrowleaf balsamroot and purple lupine found in the george. You can also expect to see desert parsley, desert shooting stars, upland larkspur, and red paintbrush flowers.

This hike can get busy during the day! However, we did this hike late in the day on a Friday evening and were surprised we didn’t see many other people on the trail.

Coyote Wall Loop 

Length: 6.3 miles | Elevation gain: 1,765 feet | Trail type: Loop-ish | Fees: None | AllTrails link

If you’re up for one of the more challenging wildflower hikes near Portland, then this is for you! Rated as difficult, during this challenging hike you’ll ascend 1,700 feet up a dramatic rocky plateau high above the Gorge. The climb is worth the effort, though. After about 900 feet of climbing you’ll start to see fields of stunning yellow arrowleaf balsamroot and purple lupine.

You’ll also encounter mountain bikers along this trail, and the soil is rocky and loose in many places, so make sure to be cautious and wear good hiking boots! Arrive early in the morning to get a parking spot.

Columbia Hills Vista Loop

Length: 6.5 miles | Elevation gain: 950 feet | Trail type: Loop | Fees: Washington Discover Pass required | AllTrails link

The Columbia Hills Vista Loop offers hikers stunning views of fields filled with yellow arrowleaf balsamroot and purple lupine stretching as far as the eye can see! This hike takes you over gently rolling hills, and I would consider it to be a moderate hike. Note that you may encounter mountain bikers or horses along the trail. Parts of this hike can be quite windy so bring layers!

Catherine Creek – Rowland Basin

Length: 5.1 miles | Elevation gain: 1,200 feet | Trail type: Loop | Fees: None | AllTrails link

While there are fewer wildflowers here than at most of the other locations listed in this blog post, this hike still offers beautiful displays, particularly of yellow arrowleaf balsamroot. There is abundant parking at the trailhead, and the trails are well maintained. However, this hike does have a TON of poison oak along the trail, so I recommend wearing long pants and using caution when on this trail! Other routes in this area are more popular, but this route tends to be less trafficked. We only saw two other people during our entire hike!

Tunnel Falls via Eagle Creek

Length: 12.3 miles | Elevation gain: 2,140 feet | Trail type: Out and back | Fees: Forest Service or America the Beautiful Pass | AllTrails link

This spectacular hike takes you along a dramatic cliffside and past eight major waterfalls, and is truly worth having on your bucket list. While this hike is best known for its falls, it also has beautiful wildflowers in spring! You’ll find Pacific bleeding heart, Pacific trillium, checker lily, Oregon grape, and abundant ferns along this lush and green trail.

Take note that the cliff sides here are steep, so special caution should be exercised with pets and children. Leashes are required for dogs here, in part because they can easily run off the cliff sides by accident. Sadly, we witnessed someone lose a pet over the edge of this trail in 2022.

On a lighter note, you’ll want to arrive early in order to get a parking spot! The lot has been known to fill up before 7:30 am on fair weather days.

Sevenmile Hill Trail

Length: 1.0 miles | Elevation gain: 846 feet | Trail type: Loop/out and back (see description) | Fees: None | AllTrails link

While this trial has stunning flowers I would recommend that only competent trail-finders attempt this route. This trail is narrow, difficult to follow, and it borders private property, which makes wayfinding tools like AllTrails especially helpful. Although this trail is considered a loop, we did it as an out and back because the trail suddenly stops, and following the AllTrails loop would mean crushing wildflowers. If you can’t find the trail please follow leave no trace principles and turn around instead of crushing the flowers.

Additional resources

No matter what trail you choose, these six wildflower hikes near Portland, Oregon are sure to delight! They all offer unique and beautiful arrays of wildflowers in the stunning Columbia River Gorge. 

You can find more Pacific Northwest hikes and adventures here on our blog. Curious about our favorite hiking gear? Click here! If you have questions about these hikes you can send us a message on Instagram.

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