Stacker Butte – Columbia Hills State Park


  • 4.9 mile out and back with 1050 feet of elevation gain
  • casual hike up gravel service road
  • Outstanding spring balsam root and wildflower displays
Arrowleaf Balsam root

Stacker Butte rests on the northern ridge line above Columbia Hills Historical State Park, a diverse park that spans all the way to the Columbia River and consists of a myriad of recreational opportunities. Camping and boating is available at Horsethief Lake, scrambling and climbing at Horsethief Butte, and great hiking through the hills at Crawford Oaks. Perhaps the most well known element is the Dalles Mountain Ranch area of the park with its historical buildings and farm equipment and incredible, often sought out among photographers, wildflower displays in the spring.

Looking south over the Columbia Hills State Park with Mt. Hood

The Stacker Butte “trail” offers a great, low key wander up 2.5 miles of graveled through the uppermost hills above the ranch with less of the crowding that clusters around the ranch area below. The views of blooming yellow balsam root paint the rolling hillsides yellow with splotches of purple lupines. Western Meadowlarks dip up and down along the road and hawks soar above. Atop the ridge sits a communications equipment site and 360 degree views of the Columbia River Gorge and southern Washington. Mt Hood, Rainier, Adams, and St Helens are all visible as well as the Klickitat River Canyon.

Mt. Adams with Mt. Rainier peeking out to the right.

Driving Directions

From Washington SR 14 heading east, turn right and head up gravelly Dalles Mt. Road, turning to the left and heading north just before the Ranch buildings and amenities/ Dalles Mountain Ranch Trailhead parking area. Pass the private dwelling and keep on up the road till it ends at a gate, sign, and couple of parking spots.

Published by Jim Wilson

An avid hiker and outdoor enthusiast, I settled in Oregon after years of working on hiking trails in Southeast Alaska with the USFS and exploring the Pacific Northwest and rest of the country in the offseason.

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