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Tyson Gillard | 03.30.2020

Portland is blessed to have relatively close access to some of the best wildflower blooms in the Pacific Northwest. From panoramic Columbia River Gorge vistas to the Coast Range mountain meadows, wildflower lovers get the added benefit of experiencing stunning views and serene landscapes while seeking out this colorful bounty. You’ve probably heard of some of the locations, such as the famed Dog Mountain on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge, but others will hopefully be new to you and spark some late spring or early summer outdoor wanderlust. 

Listed in order of the best times to visit from spring to summer:

  1. Tom McCall Point (May): This sun-kissed eastern Gorge hike displays its wildflowers early, so don’t delay.
  2. Coyote Wall (May): Also located on the eastern side of the Columbia River Gorge, but on the Washington side, this hike and popular mountain bike destination has huge hillside meadows filled with balsamroot and various types of flowering buckwheat.
  3. Powell Butte Nature Park (May): located on the eastern edges of Portland’s city limits, this park sits atop an ancient cinder volcanic vent and hosts incredible displays of lupine fields.
  4. Bald Butte (late May/early June): Perched above the Hood River valley, this exposed butte gets lots of sun and has an astonishing variety of wildflowers, not to mention direct views of Mount Hood’s rugged north face.
  5. Hamilton Mountain (late May/early June): Often overlooked by those flocking to Dog Mountain, this Gorge hike is close to Portland and will not disappoint.
  6. Dog Mountain (late May/early June): Well recognized for its fields of lupine and balsamroot, the only problem with this epic hike is all of the other people who also know it is epic.
  7. Silver Falls Trail of 10 Falls (late May/early June): Not only does this hike offer the best collection of waterfalls outside of the Gorge, the entire length of the trail is adorned with various colors and blooms of stunning wildflowers.
  8. Saddle Mountain (May/June):  Whether you are in the Sitka spruce and grand fir forest below or out on this remnant of the Columbia River Basalt, you’ll see loads of wildflowers throughout spring and early summer.
  9. Wilson River Trail (June/July):  This river, which eventually flows out into the Pacific at Tillamook Bay, makes for a great getaway throughout the summer.  Not only are there waterfalls and numerous swimming holes to be enjoyed along the route, asters and foxgloves are a constant presence along the path.
  10. Kings Mountain (June/July): One of the highest peaks in the Coast Range, the trail up to the summit of Kings Mountain is nothing take lightly, but once you’ve climbed to the top you’ll get awesome views of both the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade Mountains, not to mention stunning wildflowers!
  11. Neahkahnie Mountain (June/July): This peak, highly revered by northwest natives, is also the highest point directly above the Pacific Ocean on the stretch of coastline between California and British Columbia.  And, just like Kings Mountain, the summit is blanketed in a terrific array of wildflowers.


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