Memaloose Overlook is a beautiful pullout along the Columbia River Gorge that provides views of Rowena Gap Basalts and Memaloose Island, or “island of the dead," so named because it was once a Native American burial ground. However, just meters across the road from this pullout exists a series of trails that lead to an even more expansive view of the Gorge, and visitors in the spring will enjoy bright yellow hills of spring wildflowers that burst from these meadows in April and May. While less traveled than other popular wildflower hikes such as Dog Mountain and Catherine Creek, this public area provides equally impressive wildflower displays in the spring each year.
After just a mile along the trail from Highway 30, hikers will arrive at an obvious (but unmarked) four-way trail intersection. Continue straight here to reach Marsh Hill, the smaller of the two bluffs. Make sure to look behind you and to your right for amazing views of Mount Hood through thick fields of arrowleaf balsamroot. You may even catch a glimpse of Mount Adams.
If you think your eyes can handle even more bright colors after Marsh Hill, make your way back down to the intersection and take a left, continuing through a marshy field to reach Chatfield Hill. Just when you thought these hills couldn’t possibly pack in more wildflowers, the slightly steeper approach to Chatfield Hill through fields filled with wildflowers will change your mind. As you make your way to the top, you’ll again be greeted by an even closer view of Mount Hood and finally a vista of the Columbia River Gorge to both the east and west. A wide variety of wildflower species cover these rolling hills, the majority being balsamroot, lupine, Columbia desert parsley and paintbrush. Like many of the hikes in this area of the Gorge, one should be cautious of rattlesnakes, ticks and poison oak.