Looking west from the new viewpoint and trail. (Kate McBride)
Looking west from the new viewpoint and trail. (Kate McBride)

Mosier Plateau

Western Gorge, oregon

This trail begins in the town of Mosier, follows Mosier Creek through Pocket Park (community park), and then ends up on Mosier Plateau, which is owned by Friends land trust. This trail is part of our Gorge Towns to Trails project, a comprehensive trail system that wraps around the Columbia Gorge, linking communities with recreation. The trail was completed in summer 2013 with numerous partners and volunteers. Enjoy!

Read an article from the Hood River News about the trail’s history.

Trail Description

Begin the hike from the totem pole in Mosier. The trailhead is actually 1000 yards east up the road, on the south side of Historic Highway 30, just over the historic bridge.  You’ll see a bench just after crossing the bridge and a trail. This is the beginning of the hike. You’ll also see a sign for the pioneer cemetery here.

Follow the trail past the pioneer cemetery as you follow Mosier Creek on your right (to the west). Soon you’ll come to a viewpoint overlooking Mosier Creek Falls and the canyon walls of Mosier Creek. Continue on the trail making your way to a series of switchbacks and four sets of stairs, arriving at the top of the plateau. Here you’ll find yourself at the view point, soaking up the outstanding Gorge views. Continue down the trail to where it meets the gravel driveway and foundation of what used to be a garage. At this point you can start heading back the way you came for the return trip back to your car.

Trail Highlights

  • Best time to hike is March through May, with the peak of the wildflowers being mid-to-late April. (Over 30 different flower species have been counted!)
  • Best time to swim in Mosier Creek (local swimming hole) is July and August, when the water is the warmest.
  • Best time for solitude is a full moon evening hike or a hazy day hike at dusk in the late summer or early fall.
  • Best time to observe bald eagles soaring at the edge of the plateau by the lower bench is in January.
  • Wildlife is abundant in winter and early spring (lots of deer and turkey have been observed).

Stewardship efforts have included (and will continue to):

  • Friends member, Tom Wood, installed three bluebird boxes. Five chicks hatched the first year they were installed.  Bluebird population has declined due to habitat loss and the introduction of house sparrows and European starlings. Building birdboxes in an open wooded habitat is one way it help this situation.
  • Removing teasel, skeleton weed and knapweed since 2007.
  • Removing lower tree limbs to reduce fire risk.

Join us for an upcoming stewardship work party on this beautiful property.

Rules of the Trail

  • Start your hike at the Mosier Totem Pole or Mosier City parking lot between Hwy 30 and the railroad below the totem pole.
  • This is an out and back hike.
  • Stay on designated trails (There are sensitive plants, cliff edges, and private property very close to trails in some areas).
  • No motorized vehicles, horses, or bicycles on trails.
  • Steepness and trail construction is designed for pedestrians only.
  • Motorized vehicles could precipitate fires in the summer.
  • Smoking and fires are prohibited.
  • No hunting (neighbors have requested this and Friends would like as much wildlife as possible on the land).

History

  • The neighbor who at one time owned the property stated that his relatives had a few cattle on the property 75 to 100 years ago.
  • Since the late 1950’s a “microwave station” has been at the top of the property. It is used for the city of Mosier to send signals to firepersons in the Mosier Valley for fire calls. There is also a cell tower lease that has been in place for about 15 years.
  • In the early 1990’s, there were two manufactured houses placed on the property. The owner lived in one and rented out the other one (two separate properties of 20 and 22 acres). In 2005 Nancy Russell, Friends’ founder, bought the parcels with the manufactured homes and garages for $900,000, it was the height of the real estate market.
  • In 2007, Nancy sold both manufactured homes to a low income housing provider in The Dalles.
  • In December 2007, Friends Land Trust received the land from Nancy as a donation.
  • In early 2008, Friends Land Trust bought an adjacent parcel of land, totaling 2.65 acres. This is the property at the edge of the bluff and in the urban area.
  • Today, the Mosier Plateau includes 44 acres (3 different land parcels ) to create approximately 3.5-mile (round-trip) out-and-back trail.

Trail Map

Driving Directions

From I-84, take Exit #69/Mosier. Follow the Historic Columbia River Highway into town. Park at the Mosier totem pole located mid-town on left/north side of road. Park here in the gravel or below the totem pole between Hwy 30 and the rail road tracks. There is an outhouse here.

Hike Information:

  • Type of Hike: Out and Back
  • Length: 3.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 600 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Restroom Facilities: Yes
  • Fees and Regulations: None

Features:

  • Beautiful Views
  • Bird Viewing
  • Ice-Age Floods
  • Friends Land Trust Property
  • Wildflowers
  • Family Friendly

Difficulty Levels

Easy: Up to 3 miles, less than 700 ft. elevation gain

Moderate: Up to 5 miles, less than 1,500 ft. elevation gain

Strenuous: Up to 10 miles, up to 2,500 ft. elevation gain

Expert: Over 10 miles, steep trail, over 2,500 feet elevation gain

Love to hike in the Gorge?

We do too and we want to make sure that the Gorge’s unparalleled beauty does not get spoiled. Join 5,000 others in standing up for Gorge protection by becoming a member of Friends today for $35.

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Contact Information

Credits

Trail maps are courtesy of NWHiker.org. Hike descriptions were collaboratively written with the generous support of Portlandhikers.org.