Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Tom McCall Nature Preserve, Oregon"
Includes ... Tom McCall Nature Preserve ... Rowena Plateau ... Rowena Dell ... Rowena Creek ... Missoula Floods ...
Image, 2009, Tom McCall Nature Preserve, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Tom McCall Nature Preserve, Oregon. Image taken May 9, 2009.


Tom McCall Nature Preserve ...
The 271-acre Tom McCall Nature Preserve is a plateau called "Rowena Plateau". It is located on the Oregon side of the Columbia River at River Mile (RM) 180, just west of Rowena Crest and east of the Oregon town of Mosier. Tom McCall Nature Preserve was named for one of Oregon's governors, Thomas Lawson McCall. Ownership and management of the preserve includes The Nature Conservancy, Mayer State Park and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. There are two trails on the preserve. The 1-mile plateau trail begins at the interpretive sign at the entrance to the preserve and crosses Rowena Plateau to spectacular cliff edges. The trail also circles a permanent pond. A great view of the Rowena Creek drainage and Rowena Dell can be had from the cliff edge. The 3-mile McCall Point trail to the top of McCall Peak (open May through November) begins from the south side of the turnaround and gains 1,000 feet in elevation and provides a spectacular view of the area. Wildflowers are abundant in the spring.

Image, 2005, Tom McCall Nature Preserve, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Tom McCall Nature Preserve, Oregon. Image taken September 18, 2005.
Image, 2009, Tom McCall Nature Preserve, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Tom McCall Nature Preserve, Oregon. Image taken May 9, 2009.


Wildflowers ...

Image, 2009, Tom McCall Nature Preserve, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Rowena Plateau, Tom McCall Nature Preserve, Oregon, with the Columbia River. Gold Stars dot the hillside. Image taken April 4, 2009.
Image, 2009, Tom McCall Nature Preserve, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Arrowleaf Balsamroot, Tom McCall Nature Preserve, Oregon. Image taken May 9, 2009.
Image, 2009, Tom McCall Nature Preserve, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Arrowleaf Balsamroot, Tom McCall Nature Preserve, Oregon. Image taken April 18, 2009.
Image, 2009, Tom McCall Nature Preserve, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Shooting Stars, Tom McCall Nature Preserve, Oregon. Image taken April 4, 2009.
Image, 2009, Tom McCall Nature Preserve, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Grass Widows, Tom McCall Nature Preserve, Oregon. Image taken March 21, 2009.
Image, 2009, Tom McCall Nature Preserve, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Yellow Bells, Tom McCall Nature Preserve, Oregon. Image taken April 4, 2009.
Image, 2009, Tom McCall Nature Preserve, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Wildflowers, Tom McCall Nature Preserve, Oregon. Image taken June 27, 2009.
Image, 2009, Tom McCall Nature Preserve, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Columbia Desert Parsley, Tom McCall Nature Preserve, Oregon, with the Columbia River. Image taken April 4, 2009.


Rowena Plateau and the Missoula Floods ...
The Tom McCall Nature Preserve and nearby Rowena Crest are located on a high basalt mesa known as the "Rowena Plateau". During the end of the last ice age over 200 feet of raging flood waters (today known as the Missoula Floods) ripped across this plateau stripping it clean. Over the next ten thousand years this surface was covered by 3 to 4 feet of loess (wind blown ash, most likely from nearby Mount St. Helens volcano) which eventually eroded into the mounds. These mounds, wildflower-covered in the spring, dot the surface of the basalt flow. They are commonly referred to as "biscuit mounds" or "biscuit scabland".
[More]

Image, 2007, Tom McCall Nature Preserve, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Loess mounds, Rowena Plateau, Tom McCall Nature Preserve, Oregon. Image taken May 13, 2007.
Image, 2007, Tom McCall Nature Preserve, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Loess mounds, Rowena Plateau, Tom McCall Nature Preserve, Oregon. Image taken May 13, 2007.
Image, 2007, Tom McCall Nature Preserve, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Flowers and mounds, Rowena Plateau. View from Tom McCall Nature Preserve, Oregon. Image taken May 13, 2007.


Kolk Lakes ...
The Missoula Floods also left behind small rounded depressions in the basalts which eventually filled with water and are now called "kolk lakes". The trails at Tom McCall pass by two such lakes. Another is visible along Interstate 84, as seen from nearby Rowena Crest.
[More]

Image, 2007, Tom McCall Nature Preserve, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Kolk Lake, Rowena Plateau, Tom McCall Nature Preserve, Oregon. Image taken May 13, 2007.


Rowena Dell ...
Tom McCall Nature Preserve borders the east side of Rowena Dell, the canyon created by Rowena Creek. This canyon at one time was called "Hog Canyon" after residents, tired of the rattlesnakes infesting the canyon, fenced the end and turned hogs loose.
[More]

Image, 2005, Tom McCall Nature Preserve, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Trail, Tom McCall Nature Preserve, Oregon. Image taken September 18, 2005.
Image, 2005, Tom McCall Nature Preserve, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Rowena Dell as seen from Tom McCall Nature Preserve, Oregon. View looking downstream Rowena Creek at Rowena Dell. Image taken September 18, 2005.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, October 29, 1805 ...




Columbia River GorgeReturn to
Menu
 






*River Miles [RM] are approximate, in statute miles, and were determined from USGS topo maps, obtained from NOAA nautical charts, or obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website, 2003

Sources:
  • Bishop, E.M., 2004, Hiking Oregon's Geology, The Mountaineers Books;
  • The Nature Conservatory website, 2005, 2008;
  • Waitt, R., 2007, personal communication, "Missoula Floods";


All Lewis and Clark quotations from Gary Moulton editions of the Lewis and Clark Journals, University of Nebraska Press, all attempts have been made to type the quotations exactly as in the Moulton editions, however typing errors introduced by this web author cannot be ruled out; location interpretation from variety of sources, including this website author.
/Regions/Places/tom_mccall_nature_preserve.html
April 2009