Much like several other eastern Gorge day hikes including Tom McCall Point and Coyote Wall, the main reason to head so far east should be obvious: reliable sunshine, big blue skies, and far stretching vistas! The hike up Catherine Creek is a relaxing one, and unlike its neighbor, Coyote Wall, the trail is sprinkled with numerous groves of Oregon White Oak, which provide a little shade, not to mention a cool creek to dip your feet in. The highlight of this adventure, as most are aware, is the natural basalt rock arch, a sacred site of the Chinook Natives. Additional perks are the old corrals of the abandoned ranch, and the vibrant display of wildflowers, including Harvest Brodiaea, common St. John’s Wort, and needle-leaved Navarretia.
If venturing to this grassy valley and ridge in the midst of the summer, you’ll enjoy a sweat reprieve and cool-off at one of the eastern Gorge’s best swimming holes, Rowland Lake.