Crawford Oaks is a relatively new trail system in the Columbia Hills State Park. There are a few trails that comprise the Crawford Oaks trail system. There is an access road trail that gets you up to the loop trails. The Access Road goes by a really beautiful waterfall. The Vista Loop is the lower loop of the two loops and has great views of the river and views on the other side into Oregon. The upper loop is called the Ranch route and climbs gently up into the Columbia Hills complex. the Crawford Ranch which is now owned by the Washington State Parks can be accessed from this loop. Both loops are connected on the west by the Eight Mile Creek Trail which also connects with the Access Road Trail. I did both loops as one big loop but if I were to do it again, I would hike it in a figure eight pattern so I could squeeze in the middle section that I missed.
I drove down to the Gorge on this weekend to squeeze in as much sun as I could find. It has been a miserably wet and grey winter in the NW (I say that every year it seems) and I needed all the vitamin D I could get. The forecast was for sun on Saturday and clouds turning to rain later on Sunday. I'm short on dialog for this hike, there's not much to say. I didn't see many people except for 3 or 4 mountain bikers. It was a beautiful afternoon. The flowers were still a couple weeks away so I missed out on that, but I did see some early varieties. That night I stayed in The Dalles Oregon so I could get another hike in on Sunday.
Follow this link to the Oregon Hikers Field Guide for a much better description of the hike.
About 7.5 miles and 1200 feet of elevation gain.
2 thoughts on “Crawford Oaks – Columbia Hills State Park”
The first white flowers you don’t have a name for are Lithophragma, or woodland-star. The second white flowers are phlox. The yellow flowers in the shot of the waterfall are one of the many Lomatiums, aka biscuit-root or desert-parsley.
Looks like you got a lot of sun! and the waterfall is very pretty.
Thanks for the ID. I try to ID these a lot of times, but I’ve got so much catching up to do, it can be time consuming to do all the research. Glad you are still reading these. That waterfall was a big surprise to me. This whole area of the Gorge is amazingly beautiful to me and will always be one of my favorite spring destinations.