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McCall Point Hike

From Portland Hikers Field Guide

View from the summit of McCall Point (Steve Hart)
The trail is lined with balsamroot in May (cfm)
The trail follows the original wagon road (Steve Hart)
Grass widows in the fog (Steve Hart)
Fog breaking over the hill (Steve Hart)
  • Start point: Rowena Crest TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: McCall Point
  • Trail Log: Trail Log
  • Hike Type: Out and back
  • Distance: 3.6 miles round trip
  • Elevation gain: 1070 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Year round, better in spring
  • Family Friendly: No
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No
Falling
Poison Oak
Ticks

Contents

Hike Description

This is a hike filled with views, both near and far.

From the Rowena Crest Trailhead, the trail crosses a flat area for 1/10 of a mile then picks up a faint old road. The old road is followed for another 2/10 of a mile to an intersection with another old road. This second old road shows a lot of construction effort as it circles a small point and begins to slab along the base of a rockfall. There are places where the road has been blasted out of the underlying rock. This is probably a remnant of the wagon road that was built from The Dalles to Hood River in the 1870s. There are amazing views to the east including the Historic Columbia River Highway and a continuation of this wagon road, switching down the opposite side of the valley.

After a little more than half of a mile, you'll come to a sign labeling the "Tom McCall Point Trail". The trail leaves the wagon road here and after a short climb reaches the meadowed slopes overlooking the Rowena Plateau. Here, you'll have your first view to the west, including the arched highway bridge,and Mount Defiance. Looking north, Mount Adams appears beyond the town of Lyle. From here, the trail gets steeper as it switchbacks, alternating through forests of scrub oak and open grassy areas. This part of the trail is populated with poison oak and ticks. Be sure to wear long pants and long sleeves. As the trail climbs, the views of the river and the plateau get better and better.

The summit is marked by the kind of marker more commonly seen next to the freeway. You've still got the same beautiful river views and now there's a great morning view of Mount Hood, as well.

For those with a little wind left in their lungs, a fainter trail continues south dropping steeply into a little saddle and climbing up the peak beyond. This part of the trail is narrower, steeper and more prone to poison oak than the first part. After about another half mile, you'll reach the second summit marked by a small rock cairn. The area is covered is small oak trees, but there are open viewpoints here and there in all directions.

Maps

Regulations or restrictions, etc

  • No passes required. There is a donation box at the Rowena Plateau Trailhead.
  • Dogs, bikes and horses are prohibited
  • No campfires, camping, flower picking or walking off the trails.

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

100 Hikes in Oregon by William L. Sullivan

More Links

Contributors

Portland Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.