Dalles Mountain Ranch Balsamroot Extravaganza

There's a reason why Columbia Hills State Park and the Dalles Mountain Ranch become one of the most popular spots in the Gorge in spring. The glorious golden blooms of balsamroot paint long swatches on the rolling, open hillsides. With the sunrise, meadowlarks call their dreamy warble and Chukars burst off the trail, scolding agitated with your presence. Midweek in the morning I encountered no one else hiking on the trail through the hills below the ranch but could see numerous cars and people posted on the roads and near the ranch buildings.